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Debugging Build-Time Logic

It may seem unusual to debug compile-time logic, but like any process, it is perfectly legal and even simple to debug the build process!

Basically, what you will do is to attach a debugger to the PostSharp process. If you use the standard MSBuild targets for PostSharp, define the constant PostSharpAttachDebugger=True.

The trick is easier to explain when you have compile-time logic (your aspect, for instance) and the transformed assembly in different Visual Studio projects.

Suppose you have your aspects logic MyAspects.csproj and unit tests (i.e. the code to be transformed) in MyAspects.Test.csproj. The easiest way to debug MyAspects.csproj is the following:

To debug the build-time logic of an aspect:

  1. Open Visual Studio and load the solution containing MyAspects.csproj.

  2. Open the Visual Studio Command Prompt and go to the directory containing MyAspects.Test.csproj.

  3. Build MyAspects.csproj using Visual Studio as usually .

  4. From the command prompt, type:

    msbuild MyAspects.Test.csproj /T:Rebuild /P:PostSharpAttachDebugger=True

  5. The build process will hit a break point. When it happens, attach the instance of MyAspects.csproj Visual Studio.

    Note Note

    Because of a bug in Visual Studio, you need to use the mixed debugging engine. To do that, check the option Manually choose the debugging engines in the Visual Studio Just-In-Time Debugger and select both the managed and the native engines.

  6. Set up break points in your code and continue the program execution.