.net programming, computers and assorted technology rants

New .NET Debugging API Released


Courtesy Keith Ward, VisualStudioMagazine

Microsoft’s released a new .NET Framework managed library to help with debugging and crash dump analysis.

It’s a beta release, and is called Microsoft.Diagnostics.Runtime (abbreviated to ClrMD — MD for "Memory Diagnostics"). It’s available through the NuGet package manager. It works similarly to the SOS Debugging Extensions. With it, you can write automated crash analysis and automate common debugger tasks.

According to a blog entry by Lee Culver, a developer on Microsoft’s .NET Runtime team, it wasn’t the original plan to release the library publicly. It came about because the runtime team "has had so much success automating complex diagnostic tasks with this API" that they decided to make it available.

Culver also noted that the library is a wrapper around CLR internal-only debugging APIs. The internal APIs, he said, are "incredibly difficult to use and tightly coupled with other implementation details of the CLR." Since the CLR is a managed runtime, things like garbage collection and JIT compilation are done for you.

The most basic thing you’d probably to with ClrMD is print out heap stats to the console. But it gets much more granular than that, allowing you to, for example, "walk every managed thread in a process or crash dump and print out a managed callstack," Culver wrote.

The blog also contains a code sample to help you learn by doing.

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