Wanted: Debugger User Interface Feedback
In the past, we have relied on internal dogfooding, external alphas and betas, and usability studies of work-in-progress to get feedback that can be used to improve the feature before being released to the public. We are still doing that more than ever. However, blogging has opened up a new channel of feedback that I'd like to take advantage of.
As you may or may not know, I am a developer for the Visual Studio debugger, with a strong emphasis on the user-interface the debugger presents. That being the case, I am keenly interested in hearing about what you love about the debugger, what you hate about it, and/or ways you think it can be improved or changed to better meet your debugging needs. As posts are made, I will not only note the feedback and try to address it in future versions, but I (and others who read this) will be sure to post guidance and/or tips to help address your needs with existing versions of the product.
To get you started thinking about it, I'll pose a few questions:
- Which form of variable inspection do you find yourself making the most use of? Datatips? the Watch Window(s), the Autos Window?, the Locals Window? Why?
- How do you set and unset a breakpoint?
- What feature are we completely missing?
And here are a few usability tips:
- Did you know you can edit many values in the watch, locals, or autos window? Just click on the item, then click on it's value. If the value can be edited, it will become editable.
- Did you know you can drag a deeply nested watch, local or autos, item to a top level of the watch item?
- Did you know you can view more than the first item in a C++ array, by appending your watch item with “,#“ where the number is replaced by the number of items you want to view? For example, if you have a pointer to an array of ints, called “pArray“, you can view the first 10 items with “pArray,10“