How to Step Into DLL in ASP.NET Debugging

Here I want to describe necessary steps to perform successful step into DLL in an ASP.NET debugging session.

First of all, let me describe the environment I’ve used for this task.

I have a development or testing server that hosts IIS v6.0 and a Windows XP Service Pack 3 workstation that is used for ASP.NET debugging. This server runs using Windows 2003 OS and IIS 6.0 as its web server.

I already have permission for debugging task in the server, and MSVSMON.EXE is activated so that I can connect it from my workstation.

I’ve created the ASP.NET application in the drive D in the server, precisely in D:\WebApp\myApp. This application is created using Visual Studio 2005, with VB.NET as its programming language.

I’ve also created the DLL in VB.NET called WebUtils.DLL in D:\WebApp\Utils, again using VS 2005. For the purpose of this illustration, I just creates one method inside the myWeb class called HelloString() that just returns the “Hello, World” string :

Inside myApp ASP.NET application, there is a page called Testing.aspx that’s basically use the above class :

So, here is necessary checklists to be verified in order to successfully step into DLL that I’ve created above :

Make sure that the myApp ASP.NET application is already in the form of application in IIS 6.0. This is indicated by the gear shape when viewed it in the IIS’s Websites Item :

Open the website in VS 2005 at the myApp folder so in the solution explorer, the special folders such as App_Code, etc has different icon like this :

Performs the reference to the compiled DLL using the Add Reference context menu on the myApp folder :

Using the browse tab, points it to the DLL to be referenced, in this case, it is the WebUtils.DLL inside the debug directory.

After the Add Reference task is done, verify that the referenced DLL in bin folder have its companion .refresh file :

In the web.config, make sure that the compilation option is set for debug environment, so that the debugger can retrieve PDB symbol for the application being debugged :

Next, perform attach process to the server for myApp aplication, first place the breakpoint to the beginning to the class method call. After activating the browser to the testing.aspx page, VS 2005 will place to the intended break-point, and after pressing the step into button :

We are indeed goes to the inside of WebUtils.dll 🙂


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