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Visual Studio: Unable to Edit and Continue?

The past few days I was unable to Edit and Continue in Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate from my home machine, which is running Windows 7 64bit. I knew there were some issues with this on 64bit, I figured one of my projects was not targeting x86 so I just ignored it. Then today I was really getting annoyed at seeing the dialog.


So I started playing around with the configuration settings made sure that everything was in order and still no dice.

After that I performed a repair of Visual Studio, and then reset all the settings under Tools>Import and Export Settings and that still didn’t solve the problem. Then I remembered that I change my IntelliTrace settings the other day so I went to disable it and to my surprise I saw the dialog box shown below.


When I changed the IntelliTrace setting to collect call information I didn’t notice the warning stating “Edit and continue is disabled when collecting Call Information”! So I changed the setting and everything was good. Microsoft should add this to the Edit and Continue dialog box not available, I’ll ping a few people I know about that. FYI I created this question on Stackoverflow before I resolved it myself.

Sayed Ibrahim Hashimi

Edit and Continue | IntelliTrace | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2010 Sunday, May 9, 2010 12:19:38 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Saturday, May 8, 2010

Visual Studio projects not building anymore?

Recently I had the chance to work on a WPF app and it was behaving very strangely when I built and ran the application. For instance I tried to debug the application from Visual Studio and I received an error staging “Visual Studio cannot start debugging because the debug target ‘PATH HERE’ is missing. Please build the project and retry, or set the OutputPath and AssemblyName properties appropriately to point at the correct location for the target assembly.


So I checked the properties, every thing looked good. I even built the project from the command line and it built fine. Anywayz at some point after that I was able to debug the app. But then I noticed that the UI was not getting updated with my changes. So I started digging a bit deeper. I noticed that when I ran a Clean from Visual Studio the output files for that particular project.

I then rebuilt the solution in Visual Studio. From the Output window I selected all the text,copied it, and then pasted that into an editor. After looking at the message

------ Skipped Clean: Project: R…ion: Debug Any CPU ------
Project not selected to build for this solution configuration
------ Skipped Clean: Project: R…Admin.Wpf, Configuration: Debug x86 ------
Project not selected to build for this solution configuration
------ Clean started: Project: Test…er, Configuration: Debug Any CPU ------
Build started 5/8/2010 1:10:02 AM.

I immediately knew that there was an incorrect value in the build configuration manager. You can find the configuration manager from the toolbar.


Here is what I found.


In this dialog there are two project set not to build for Debug builds; the DB project and the Wpf project. The DB project is OK to not build on Debug if there are a small % of DB changes versus code changes. If that is the case the devs can just build the DB project manually when the change it. In the case of the Wpf project, it should be set to build and the fact that it wasn’t was causing all the issues. So I checked the build check box, clicked the Close button and it was all good. You should also make sure that all other configuration as setup correctly. You don’t want to get bitten by this again.

Sayed Ibrahim Hashimi

Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2010 | WPF Saturday, May 8, 2010 6:33:26 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Saturday, May 1, 2010

Web Deployment Tool (MSDeploy) : Build Package including extra files or excluding specific files

If you are using Visual Studio 2010 then you may already be aware that Web Deployment Tool (aka MSDeploy) is integrated into Visual Studio. I’ve posted a few blog entries already about this tool. Two of the common questions that I get discussing this with people are

  1. How do I exclude files from being placed in the package?
  2. How do I add other files to the created package?

I will address these two questions here, first we look at the easier one, how to exclude files but we will go over a bit of background first.

Web Publishing Pipeline

With Visual Studio 2010 a new concept has been created which is known as the Web Publishing Pipeline. In a nutshell this is a process which will take your web application, build it and eventually create a package that you can use to deploy your application. This process is fully captured in MSBuild. With VS 2010 many targets and many tasks are shipped to support this process. Since its captured in MSBuild format, you can customize and extend to your hearts desire. So what we need to do is hook into this process to perform the customizations that we need. This process is captured in the following files.

%program files%\MSBuild\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v10.0\WebApplications\Microsoft.WebApplication.targets
%program files%\MSBuild\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v10.0\Web\Microsoft.Web.Publishing.targets

The Microsoft.WebApplication.targets file is imported by the web applications projects file, then that file imports the Microsoft.Web.Publishing.targets file.

Excluding files from being packaged

If you open the project file of a web application created with VS 2010 towards the bottom of it you will find a line with.

<Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath32)\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v10.0\WebApplications\Microsoft.WebApplication.targets" />

BTW you can open the project file inside of VS. Right click on the project pick Unload Project. Then right click on the unloaded project and select Edit Project.

This statement will include all the targets and tasks that we need. Most of our customizations should be after that import, if you are not sure put if after! So if you have files to exclude there is an item name, ExcludeFromPackageFiles, that can be used to do so. For example let’s say that you have file named Sample.Debug.js which included in your web application but you want that file to be excluded from the created packages. You can place the snippet below after that import statement.

  <ExcludeFromPackageFiles Include="Sample.Debug.xml">

By declaring populating this item the files will automatically be excluded. Note the usage of the FromTarget metadata here. I will not get into that here, but you should know to always specify that.

Including extra files into the package

Including extra files into the package is a bit harder but still no bigee if you are comfortable with MSBuild, and if you are not then read this.  In order to do this we need to hook into the part of the process that collects the files for packaging. The target we need to extend is called CopyAllFilesToSingleFolder. This target has a dependency property, PipelinePreDeployCopyAllFilesToOneFolderDependsOn, that we can tap into and inject our own target. So we will create a target named CustomCollectFiles and inject that into the process. We achieve this with the following (remember after the import statement).


This will add our target to the process, now we need to define the target itself. Let’s assume that you have a folder named Extra Files that sits 1 level above your web project. You want to include all of those files. Here is the CustomCollectFiles target and we discuss after that.

<Target Name="CustomCollectFiles">
    <_CustomFiles Include="..\Extra Files\**\*" />

    <FilesForPackagingFromProject  Include="%(_CustomFiles.Identity)">
      <DestinationRelativePath>Extra Files\%(RecursiveDir)%(Filename)%(Extension)</DestinationRelativePath>

Here what I did was create the item _CustomFiles and in the Include attribute told it to pick up all the files in that folder and any folder underneath it. Then I use this item to populate the FilesForPackagingFromProject item. This is the item that MSDeploy actually uses to add extra files. Also notice that I declared the metadata DestinationRelativePath value. This will determine the relative path that it will be placed in the package. I used the statement Extra Files%(RecursiveDir)%(Filename)%(Extension) here. What that is saying is to place it in the same relative location in the package as it is under the Extra Files folder.

Admittedly this could be easier, but its not too bad, and its pretty flexible.

Sayed Ibrahim Hashimi

msbuild | MSBuild 4.0 | MSDeploy | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2010 | Web Deployment Tool | Web Publishing Pipeline Saturday, May 1, 2010 4:09:16 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |