Making debugging easier: Source Indexing and Symbol Server

Buck Hodges

Have you ever tried to debug an issue in old binaries and you don’t remember which version of the source they correspond to?  Have you debugged without symbols because no one saved them?  Here’s how to make your life easier.

One of the great features in Team Foundation Server 2010 Build is the ability to have your builds automatically indexed with source server and the symbols stored in symbol server.  Ed Blankenship has posted a great write up on how to configure and use this feature from the build to debugging in Visual Studio.

Source Server and Symbol Server Support in TFS 2010

As Jim Lamb announced in June 2009, TFS 2010 introduces support for Source Server and Symbol Server as part of the default automated build process template. This is a really key feature addition but I have found that many developers ask about why it would be so important and why it would help them. Ultimately, we are starting to have more and more tools that need access to the symbol file information and the original source code that was used for compilation. For example, some of the tools that come to mind are:

By setting up Source Server and Symbol Server support during your build process, you’ll be able to work with assemblies & executables that come from the build servers and still use tools that need information from them.


[UPDATE 4/12/2011]  Ewald Hofman pointed out that I missed Cameron’s excellent debugging series posts.  In Cameron’s second post, he points out how to work around an issue with using minidumps with VS 2010 SP1.

Check it out!


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