Validating Breakpoints in a Legacy Language Service


For the latest documentation on Visual Studio 2017, see Visual Studio 2017 Documentation.

A breakpoint indicates that program execution should stop at a particular point while it is being run in a debugger. A user can place a breakpoint on any line in the source file, since the editor has no knowledge of what constitutes a valid location for a breakpoint. When the debugger is launched, all of the marked breakpoints (called pending breakpoints) are bound to the appropriate location in the running program. At the same time the breakpoints are validated to ensure that they mark valid code locations. For example, a breakpoint on a comment is not valid, because there is no code at that location in the source code. The debugger disables invalid breakpoints.

Since the language service knows about the source code being displayed, it can validate breakpoints before the debugger is launched. You can override the ValidateBreakpointLocation method to return a span specifying a valid location for a breakpoint. The breakpoint location is still validated when the debugger is launched, but the user is notified of invalid breakpoints without waiting for the debugger to load.

  • The ValidateBreakpointLocation method is given the position of the breakpoint. Your implementation must decide whether or not the location is valid, and indicate this by returning a text span that identifies the code associated with the line position the breakpoint.

  • Return S_OK if the location is valid, or S_FALSE if it is not valid.

  • If the breakpoint is valid the text span is highlighted along with the breakpoint.

  • If the breakpoint is invalid, an error message appears in the status bar.


This example shows an implementation of the ValidateBreakpointLocation method that calls the parser to obtain the span of code (if any) at the specified location.

This example assumes that you have added a GetCodeSpan method to the AuthoringSink class that validates the text span and returns true if it is a valid breakpoint location.

using Microsoft VisualStudio;  
using Microsoft.VisualStudio.Package;  
using Microsoft.VisualStudio.TextManager.Interop;  
namespace TestLanguagePackage  
    class TestLanguageService : LanguageService  
        public override int ValidateBreakpointLocation(IVsTextBuffer buffer,  
                                                       int line,  
                                                       int col,  
                                                       TextSpan[] pCodeSpan)  
            int retval = VSConstants.S_FALSE;  
            if (pCodeSpan != null)  
                // Initialize span to current line by default.  
                pCodeSpan[0].iStartLine = line;  
                pCodeSpan[0].iStartIndex = col;  
                pCodeSpan[0].iEndLine = line;  
                pCodeSpan[0].iEndIndex = col;  
            if (buffer != null)  
                IVsTextLines textLines = buffer as IVsTextLines;  
                if (textLines != null)  
                    Source src = this.GetSource(textLines);  
                    if (src != null)  
                        TokenInfo tokenInfo = new TokenInfo();  
                        string text = src.GetText();  
                        ParseRequest req = CreateParseRequest(src,  
                        req.Scope = this.ParseSource(req);  
                        TestAuthoringSink sink = req.Sink as TestAuthoringSink;  
                        TextSpan span = new TextSpan();  
                        if (sink.GetCodeSpan(out span))  
                            pCodeSpan[0] = span;  
                            retval = VSConstants.S_OK;  
            return retval;  

Legacy Language Service Features