On the new DebuggerDisplay(Name) attributes in Whidbey

One of the many cool things that Kit George demo’d at PDC in his What’s new in the Whidbey BCL demo was a deeper control over the debug process. With the DebuggerDisplay attributes, it is possible to control how information is displayed about your objects in the debugger. Apparently they wrote this stuff in order to better control how hash table info was displayed in the debugger and then decided to let us developers leverage the attributes as well. In the bits he used he had [DebuggerDisplay] with params of name and value. I wanted to check out how to use this, but in our bits (PDC) and in any documentation (Longhorn SDK online or Whidbey) what I find is DebuggerNameDisplay, DebuggerValueDisplay and DebuggerTypeDisplay. I can handle this difference no problem except I couldn’t for the life of me get my version of the code to run (C# or VB). I put a question about this in the newsgroups a month ago (microsoft.private.whidbey.clr) and still there has been no response. There are 2 posts in that newsgroup. I asked a few people at MS and was told probably I should skip it for now. I wonder if anyone in the world has used these attributes and knows how they work in Whidbey? I really am curious about them. I don’t think they are going away even if they do change drastically.

I ask because I wanted to talk about them in my talk at EdgeEast. I think I will talk about them, but just not demo using them. Instead I will demo the how they have been used internally and maybe compare a .net 1.1 hashtable in debug vs. a Whidbey hashtable in debug. Or maybe an object that a VB developer would be more familiar with that is leveraging this. :-).

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