Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

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.

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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

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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30 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

    With the upcoming Windows 8 being HTML5 and JS-centric, this tool hardly matters for too long.
    algotechie
    • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

      @algotechie May still be a little while longer than you would think.
      Tagamasid
      • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

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      • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

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      • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

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        jamesalan85
      • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

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        jamesalan85
    • Not so

      @algotechie Not every developer works on client tools. Server development will stay .NET based. The clear and obvious evidence of that is the design of the Azure stack.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • The Windows 8 HTML5 / Javascript announcement ...

        algotechie,

        ... was one of the most boneheaded things MS has ever done. Way to not only dampen enthusiam for Windows 8 among .Net developers, but to make them more concerned than ever. If MS does in fact make HTML the center of Windows development (if that is even possible), I'll probably switch to the Apple ecosystem.
        P. Douglas
      • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

        @P. Douglas - as per my comments below, perhaps it would be wise to wait until we hear the whole story about the Win8 app platform before we start shouting and stamping our feet. There's a pretty good chance that the comment Sinofsky made was specifically about the code to render the UI of individual tiles. Theres a VERY good chance that the code to render the app experience (arrived at by clicking on a specific tiles) may be rendered via Javascript.HTML5, Silverlight, .NET and/or C++.

        We'll know more when BUILD happens, so let's wait until then to hear the facts rather than getting upset over a bunch of unsubstantiated rumors based off one specific comment during a high-level overview of one new feature of the next version of Windows.
        bitcrazed
      • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

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      • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

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    • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

      @algotechie I just don't see desktop application development going fully HTML5 and JS. That's fine for limited web app, but one usually expects a lot more from a desktop app.
      MikeR666
    • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

      @algotechie
      Right! Then who got to develope serverside web service's code for your HTML5 to consume?
      Samic
  • Now thats a pretty cool idea...

    ...and I rarely say that about MS.
    storm14k
  • Which languages?

    Which languages does this tool support?

    Hopefully it'll be useful to the three people who have access to Visual Studio Ultimate. :\ Not sure what the point of MS making & releasing add-ons for such a small set of people is. I guess if they keep doing it then Ultimate might become worth the money but they've got a looooong way to go yet.

    Sounds like a good idea, though, despite that.
    LeoD
    • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

      @LeoD
      Most of the Visual Studio Ultimate users are through MSDN subscription that the enterprises normally choose. So your point of saying only 3 users is moot. I understand you were sarcastic, but I am pointing to you that Visual Studio Ultimate users are not small subset.
      Ram U
      • I thought they rejigged MSDN

        @Rama.NET to not include Architect and Ultimate? That was a few years ago, unless things have changed again.
        Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

        @rbethell
        I think starting last year, they unified everything and made it simple. Now there are only 3 levels of subscription apart from embedding, library or operating systems, these three are mainly focused for mainline developers, Professional, Premium and Ultimate. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/subscriptionschart.aspx
        Ram U
      • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

        @Rama.NET Enterprises *don't* normally choose Ultimate.

        I've never worked anywhere, not even heard of anywhere, that bothered to pay the huge extra fee for the Ultimate edition/subscription. It just isn't worth it, even with these little extras. I'm sure there are some places that buy it (else they wouldn't bother making it) but they are a small minority.

        As a result, it seems like a waste of time building features like this as almost nobody can use them and they aren't enough to justify the cost of Ultimate by themselves.

        (I understand that this thing depends on a separate feature that was already only in Ultimate, which muddies the water a bit, but the point still stands.)
        LeoD
    • RE: Microsoft poised to launch new Visual Studio debugging tool

      @LeoD
      I would imagine it leverages features that are only available in the Ultimate version. If you want/need features that are not available to you in your version then providing feedback to Microsoft is the best way to change that. Otherwise they will never know.
      scottrudy