DevExpress source server: some musings

21 May 2014

In between all the hoopla on getting 14.1 tidied up and released, some of our devs have been mulling over the possibility of us providing a debug server. Yes, I know, right? When do they have the time for that? But, hold on, a debug server?

Tin can phoneWay back when (OK, it was last year), I talked about us providing PDB debugging files for our products. The theory went like this: you would download the PDB files for the DevExpress version you have (you also need the source code, by the way), do some non-trivial configuration, and bingo you would be able to debug into our code in your app. All well and good, but the “non-trivial” bit was catching people out.

So, our devs are proposing a better solution. We could introduce a new debugging service for our customers. If the customer has a license to a package that includes source, the installer could configure Visual Studio to add our debug source server (much as Microsoft suggest people do for .NET). As a result, a customer who licenses our source code will be able to ‘F11’ as they are debugging in Visual Studio to step into a method, including our source code. This way, customers will get a better understanding of how our controls are made and how they work. No longer will they just be that Old DevExpress Magic; which, in a way, is a bit of a pity…

On today’s morning coffee break, the devs positing this service have finished their spike to show that it is feasible. They set up a sample internal source server and an authorization module, and used it for debugging in Visual Studio. In other words, we have shown that we can technically do this.

Now the big question: should we? What do you think? Have you been thwarted by the PDB solution? Have you used the Microsoft source server for debugging into the .NET source code and wish you could do it for other products? Feedback is welcome.

9 comment(s)
John Fedak

IMHO this would be nice to have- but its not terribly inconvenient to download the PDBs manually.

It *is* incredibly useful to have the PDB files tho.

Now if you would include the source that has comments that would be even better :)  

21 May, 2014
Jonatas Hudler

I've been using the manually-downloaded-and-setup PDB files recently, and all just went fine. Personally, I'm perfectly ok with the current approach.

21 May, 2014
Wietse

I think it is always best to automatically install it, it will save a lot of developers some time, for every installation.

Downloading PDB files is OK for one installation for one developer.

But doing it for every release for every developer is annoying, so they don’t do it, ending up not being able to immediately debug when needed.

22 May, 2014
Joseph N. Musser II

That would be fantastic. One thing I would suggest keeping in mind for a lot of us is, will it play nicely with .NET Reflector's 'step into' PDB/source generator?

22 May, 2014
Toni Wenzel CHG

That would be awesome!

22 May, 2014
Carsten Kruhs

That would be great!

22 May, 2014
James Zhong

I hope both 'PDB debugging files' and 'Source Server' should be provided to licensed developers.

23 May, 2014
Jeff Weiler

That would be awesome!

2 June, 2014
Gustavo Marzioni

Any news ?

22 July, 2014

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