How to: Test and Debug a Visualizer

Once you have written a visualizer, you need to debug and test it.

One way to test a visualizer is by installing it in Visual Studio and calling it from a debugger window. (See How to: Install a Visualizer.) If you do that, you will need to use a second instance of Visual Studio to attach and debug the visualizer, which is running in the first instance of the debugger.

An easier way to debug a visualizer is to run the visualizer from a test driver. The visualizer APIs make it easy to create such a driver, which is called the visualizer development host.

To create a visualizer development host

  1. In your debugger-side class, include a static method that creates a VisualizerDevelopmentHost object and calls its show method:

    public static void TestShowVisualizer(object objectToVisualize)
    {
       VisualizerDevelopmentHost myHost = new VisualizerDevelopmentHost(objectToVisualize, typeof(DebuggerSide));
       myHost.ShowVisualizer();
    }
    

    The parameters used to construct the host are the data object that will be shown in the visualizer (objectToVisualize) and the type of the debugger side class.

  2. Add the following statement to call TestShowVisualizer. If you created your visualizer in a class library, you need to create an executable to call the class library and place this statement in your executable:

    DebuggerSide.TestShowVisualizer(myString);
    

    For a more complete example, see Walkthrough: Writing a Visualizer in C#.

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