Debugging in WPF – WPF Disciples tips and tricks

4 04 2008

It is proven that we software developers spend more time debugging than actually writing code. Guess what?!! WPF is no different… We have to debug and debug and debug! So the WPF Disciples decided to make a list of articles that can help WPF developers make the debugging process easier.

Debugging DataBinding

Marlon Grech wrote a Markup Extension that you can use in your DataBinding that will auto magically break in Visual studio so that you can see your binding value. Your markup would look similar to this. read more.

{Binding Path=Height, Converter={local:DebugBinding}}

Beatriz Costa blogged on how you can enable tracing in your data binding by using a new WPF Feature of .Net 3.5. So basically you can do something like this in your data binding… read more.

<TextBlock Text=“{Binding Path=Caption, diagnostics:PresentationTraceSources.TraceLevel=High}” />

Corrado Cavalli wrote another article on the PresentationTraceSources feature of .Net 3.5 giving some more insights.

Tools, tools and more tools…

Snoop is a tool that can you can use to hook to your running WPF application and browse the Visual Tree of the application. You can also inspect and edit the properties, inspect routed events (including the elements that handle them) and magnify sections in the UI.

Mole is a tool that integrates with Visual Studio (also available as a standalone app in the near future) that lets you inspect the Visual Tree of your application, inspect and edit properties, view the XAML for selected elements, preview a snapshot image of individual elements and much much more .

Performance Profiling Tools for WPF. These are a set of tools provided by Microsoft that allow you to analyze the run-time behaviour of your application and determine the types of performance optimizations you can apply .

Reflector is the class browser, explorer, analyzer and documentation viewer for .NET. Reflector allows to easily view, navigate, search, decompile and analyze .NET assemblies in C#, Visual Basic and IL. There is also a plugin related to WPF for Reflector called BAMLViewer which enables the user to see the XAML embedded in the assemblies being analayzed.

You may also want to write your own tool that integrates with Visual Studio to do your own thing, here is a brilliant article from Karl Shiflett on how to create a debugger visualizer.

More tips and tricks…

Josh Smith wrote a very interesting article where he gives some tips on debugging databinding and also on how to dig into exceptions that are thrown on runtime (ex: invalid StaticResources ) read more.

Shawn Burke blogged on how one can configure Visual Studio to debug .Net framework source code. Read more ….

Do you have any other tips/tricks of debugging WPF applications? then post a comment and share your knowledge with the rest of the WPF Community.

kick it on

Handling and Reporting WPF Data Binding Validation Errors and Exceptions

3 04 2008

This last month Karl has been obsessed with WPF business object data binding, and the .NET 3.5 support for the IDataErrorInfo interface.

He posted an informative article entitled Handling and Reporting WPF Data Binding Validation Errors and Exceptions.

This article, which includes a Silverlight video, challenges the reader to fully understand what messages the WPF data binding pipeline routes to the UI and how to report/handle exceptions thrown during the data binding process. It includes a demo application that throws exceptions at different locations in the source object and how to create robust code that can deal with them gracefully.

A custom value converter and Validation.ErrorTemplate combine to provide a developer with the capability to display inner exception messages should they be routed to the UI. Additionally, this article explains why using a trigger to set a ToolTip for displaying an error message may not be a good practice.