26. June 2008 04:35
One of the cool features about Visual Studio is that you can extend it. One of the many things you can extend are the debugging Visualizers. While you're debugging an application with Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 you can hover over a variable and you can see it's value. Sometimes, depending on the type, you will see a magnifying glass icon and that icon is the Visualizer. The reason why sometimes you get a magnifying glass and sometimes you don't is because a specific type might not have a Visualizer associated with it. You are free to create your own Visualizer for any type.
When you click on the magnifying glass the Visualizer opens. In the case of the string you have a dropdown where you can select whether you should use the Text, XML, or HTML Visualizer and if you click on the magnifying glass you should see something like this.
Now that you know what a Visualizer is let's get to the point of the post. Today I was browsing through some LINQ to SQL blogs and articles and I found out there is a LINQ to SQL Debug Visualizer. You can read all about it on Scott Guthrie's blog (the download link is also there). So I gave it a shot and I think it's pretty cool. Although Visual Studio does a decent job at displaying the SQL that will be executed it's nice to have a tool that takes it one step further.