Remarks: Edit and Continue in ASP.NET

Jonathan Goodyear writes a fairly balanced and technically accurate overview of the Edit and Continue story in ASP.NET, even if the title is somewhat negative J.  Since I was quoted, I wanted to make sure to paint the entire picture, without word limit constraints…


A few technical clarifications – first Edit and Continue *is* back for VB.  Not only is it back, but now it includes numerous improvements including improved support for working with run-time exceptions that occur while debugging and visual indication of edits that cannot be applied while under the debugger.  In the VB 6 and classic ASP days, there was Edit and Continue for client apps, but there was no Edit and Continue for the Web.  The uproar in Visual Studio .NET 2002?  The feature went away for client applications.  In Visual Studio 2005 for VB it comes back in a big, much improved way for client applications.  The Web – we retain the status quo.


Now – making that decision was not easy.  We thoroughly investigated the technical challenges that would need to be overcome in order to enable this on the ASP.NET side.  While these challenges were achievable, the feature tradeoffs that we would need to make were high.  The next step was to conduct research – we held focus groups and did studies to determine what the most important features were to our customers.  We had a trade off to make. 


E&C for ASP.NET was certainly a requested feature, but in order to implement it would have meant not implementing many other features that fell above it in the list.  We looked at the alternative that Jonathan describes as well, with the save/refresh style debugging (where you don’t have to stop the debug session).  While it is not E&C, in many scenarios it is extremely useful.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are certainly scenarios as Jonathan describes where this method breaks down, but it all comes back to tradeoffs and they are never easy.  This is one that we made.


You are already talking – check out these comments:


But what about you?  What is your take?  Maybe there is some selection bias here, but be honest, let me know your thoughts.