Getting the w3wp.exe ProcessID for Attach to Process

Open command prompt and type iisapp.vbs 

Attach a debugger to your code

    • The code you are using to debug must be exactly the same as the executing assembly. This often catches people out in SharePoint development as the assembly SharePoint is using is often in a different location than the default build directory (i.e. in the bin directory in IIS or in the GAC). You may want to include a post build script to copy your assembly to the correct location to help automate this process. Also be careful when debugging assemblies that are in the GAC as you may need to do an iisreset to ensure ASP.NET uses the latest version of your assembly.
    • The .pdb file needs to be in the same directory as the assembly to see line numbers. This is easy if you are using the bin directory of the website (recommended when developing), but you cannot copy these files directly into the GAC. You can get around this with the following steps:

      • Map a network drive to the GAC (C:\WINDOWS\assembly) folder. This allows you to see the actual folder structure and copy files into the folders as they appear on disk (opposed to the shell that is shown when browsing directly).
      • Copy the .pdb file into your assembly folder in the GAC_MSIL subfolder so that it sits next to the assembly dll.
    • Activate features through the UI if you want to debug feature receivers. If you use the stsadm command line tool to automate feature deployment the w3wp process will be recycled so any debuggers will be detached. Activating these through the central admin or the site features page will ensure the w3wp process is running.

 Use Debug and Trace statements

System.Diagnostics.Debug and Trace statements are another great way of tracking down errors in your code. As Debug calls are removed from release builds, these can be used extensively to help track down errors in development. To view these you can use tools such as DebugView to view messages on local or remote machines

Use Try-Catch statements

As with standard ASP.NET applications, Try-Catch statements can help catch and log error messages that occur in your code. This can be combined with Debug and Trace statements to view or log errors, or display meaningful messages to the user. For example in a web control you might do the following:

protected override void Render(HtmlTextWriter writer)
{
  try
  {
     // code that might cause an error
  }
  catch
  {
     Trace.Write(ex);
     writer.Write(ex.Message);
  }
}

View the SharePoint Logs

The raw SharePoint log files are extremely cluttered and hard to use but there is an alternative. The LogViewer feature on CodePlex lets you easily select a log file and view a filtered display of the items you are interested in.

You can also tweak the information that is written to the SharePoint logs via the Diagnostic Logging link under Logging and Reporting in the operations section of Central Administration.

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