Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

Summary:Microsoft is on the verge of making available for download a new experimental Visual Studio Power Tool, known as the Debugger Canvas, via its Dev Labs site.

Microsoft is on the verge of making available for download a new experimental Visual Studio Power Tool, known as the Debugger Canvas, via its Dev Labs site.

(There was a placeholder post announcing availability of the Debugger Canvas that went live on June 10 but seems to have been removed, at least partially. I'm thinking the availability announcementwill happen this week, maybe even today, June 13.)

The Debugger Canvas is a free tool developed by Brown University and Microsoft Research. The tool adds Brown University's Code Bubbles to Visual Studio, offering developers an alternative for debugging.

From the Microsoft Research site on Debugger Canvas:

"Do you get lost in the document tabs? Are you tired of the debugger jumping around from file to file? Debugger Canvas pulls together the code you’re exploring onto a single pan-and-zoom display. As you hit breakpoints or step into code, Debugger Canvas shows just the methods that you’re debugging, with call lines and local variables, to help you see the bigger picture."

The Debugger Canvas is built on technologies that only ship with Visual Studio Ultimate, including IntelliTrace and the code analysis features in the Architecture tools, according to the Microsoft Research site. The tool will require a final or trial version of Visual Studio Ultimate 2010 Service Pack (SP) 1.

There's no guarantee as to whether Microsoft will include Debugger Canvas in an upcoming commercial version of Visual Studio. As with all DevLabs projects, Code Debugger's future is largely tied to user feedback. But a few of the DevLabs projects, including Reactive Extensions (Rx) and Dryad, have moved from DevLabs incubation toward a commercialization path in recent months.

DevLabs is Microsoft's development-tool-focused incubator, which the company launched in 2008.

Update: 8 p.m. ET on June 13: Debugger Canvas is now live and downloadable from Microsoft's DevLabs site.

Topics: CXO, Microsoft, Software Development

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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