[Mono-osx] Mono development on OS X without a debugger? (was Re: Mono on Leopard)

Liam Coughlin lscoughlin at mac.com
Tue Nov 13 14:52:07 EST 2007

I value your anecdote, and offer anecdotal rebuttals.

1)  Most experienced dev's that I know find debuggers to be  
invaluable tools in exploring the runtime state of a problematic  
application, particularly in non-trivial apps -- long before an  
application reaches a production status.  I know very few serious C#  
developers who do not use VS.NET basically exclusively.

2) 90% of the code in non-trivial applications are not developed by  
high level resources -- the brunt bulk of the code is created by  mid  
and entry level resources to whom a debugger is an invaluable tool.

3) Most developers considering adoption are not experienced C#  
developers, and thus are unlikely to continue adoption or push it  
with any sort of vigor unless the tools are in place for them to  
easily and conveniently explore the runtime environment.

You're right though -- this is becoming an opinion war, and we can  
spout testimonials, arguments from authority and straw mans at each  
other all day.  The _fact_ remains that the toolset is incomplete,  
and statistically ( from this list and others ) most do not think  
that it's "good enough" in it's incomplete state.

On Nov 13, 2007, at 11:37 AM, Sean Hignett wrote:

> I think this thread as lost its value to the list.  Its become an  
> opinion session - and I am as guilty as all. This will be my last  
> spam out.
> The last thing I will say is that when I was younger, I would have  
> echo'd many of these sentiments.  I have been developing with  
> Visual Studio since version 1.0.  I worked at MS for several years  
> - before the smart guys retired and the influx of kids who thought  
> it a badge of honor to be hired at MS (of which I am also guilty of  
> being a member).  Many of the smartest devs at MS didn't even use  
> VS.NET, some did, but a surprising number favored lighter weight  
> tools - even emacs.  That was in the pre-Vista era, so I expect  
> those folks are gone - and from the look of Vista, VS.NET was used  
> a lot.
> VS.NET has a rich tool set - but it has become a bit bloated these  
> days as they try to find new things to stuff in - and for all of  
> its features, it isn't very flexible - you do things the VS.NET  
> way... it has become the IDE for kids who don't know what a command  
> line is.  The point-and-click MCSD generation.
> I used to laugh at the devs at MS that used emacs.  Now I am one of  
> them (sort of), because I too dumped VS.NET for a more lightweight,  
> cross-platform IDE.  I doubt many of the Mono devs use VS.NET or  
> Monodevelop... my guess is the hardcore ones use emacs or some  
> variant.
> Most of the experienced devs I know (and I mean years of experience  
> delivering non-trivial software (one friend used to write brain  
> scan imaging routines for german MRI company)), don't consider  
> debugging as important as tracing.  For all the problems people  
> have cited in this thread, their problem was more to do with  
> incomplete tracing code then with the abscence of a debugger.  Good  
> trace code will show most of what is required, and it can be used  
> in production, where you really need it.  Step through debugging is  
> a novice approach - most folks with time in the trenches use  
> debuggers for a sort of profiling - seeing running threads, stack  
> depth, etc.  The sort of stuff tracing doesn't reflect well.  But  
> they rarely step through code.
> It will be nice when mono-debugger is ported to OSX, but it isn't  
> the end of the world not to have it.  I'd personally rather have  
> JetBrains team up with Mono and give us a nice x-plat profiler :)
> Cheers,
> Sean
> On 13-Nov-07, at 9:08 AM, Brock Reeve wrote:
>> .NET was built by Microsoft. Microsoft does a real good job with  
>> their development tools. When I started work in Visual Studio I  
>> was blown away. Intellisense, integrated debugger, watch windows,  
>> thread windows. Windows developers where introduced to .NET on  
>> Windows with Visual Studio. They fell in love with .NET and the  
>> Visual Studio experience and now are looking to mono for the cross  
>> platform capabilities. I feel the majority of the mono users are  
>> ones coming from Windows.
>> I am one of those users. I too am struggling with developing on  
>> the Mac with Mono. I think we can all agree the development  
>> experience (from a Windows perspective) is bad. Recently, I was  
>> experimenting with adding some theme support for the Windows Forms  
>> stuff on the Mac. I would build on windows and then run on the Mac  
>> using a shared drive and writelines to debug. It was a frustrating  
>> and time consuming process to hunt down issues (I desperately  
>> wanted to set a breakpoint). This experience soured my desire to  
>> contribute to the Windows Forms effort on the Mac.
>> I think the success of Mono is strictly tied to the development  
>> experience on non windows platforms. I also think the success of  
>> Mono depends on how well the development experience is for the Mac  
>> because I believe Mono will get more developers using the Mac than  
>> Linux. This is due to the rising popularity of the Mac and Windows  
>> developers are looking at ways to take their .NET skills and apps  
>> to the Mac. They (Mono) will also get more visibility on the Mac  
>> by having apps run well on it.
>> I like mono and see great potiential. I just see a gap in the  
>> development tools and I don't want to see this gap being labeled  
>> as ok. The mono community will thrive, the barrier to get started  
>> developing with mono tools will become lower, and more patches  
>> will be committed if the development tools are there. We need to  
>> build the foundation with good development tools.
>> Brock
>> Liam Coughlin <lscoughlin at mac.com>
>> Sent by: mono-osx-bounces at lists.ximian.com
>> 11/12/2007 01:20 PM
>> To
>> Sean Hignett <seanhig at geminibay.com>
>> cc
>> "Edward J. Sabol" <sabol at alderaan.gsfc.nasa.gov>, mono- 
>> osx at lists.ximian.com, stephen at devolutions.org
>> Subject
>> Re: [Mono-osx] Mono development on OS X without a debugger?         
>> (was        Re: Mono on Leopard)
>> Yes, but all of this is lame work arounds for not actually having a
>> debugger on os x.
>> I realize that an os x debugger is not currently a priority, but
>> don't pretend that mono on os x is really ready for much of anything
>> until that changes.
>> On Nov 10, 2007, at 12:13 AM, Sean Hignett wrote:
>> > log4net.  it is better then a debugger because it can be toggled  
>> on or
>> > off at any time - even during user testing.
>> >
>> > don't leave home (or your ide) without it.
>> >
>> > On 9-Nov-07, at 9:45 PM, Edward J. Sabol wrote:
>> >
>> >> Stephen Rylander asked:
>> >>> Ed, I'm curious how you, or others, are making full use of  
>> Mono on
>> >>> OS X without a debugger? I really want to use Mono more, being an
>> >>> experienced C# developer, but the lack of a debugger freaks me  
>> out.
>> >>> I'd really appreciate any and all thoughts on the subject.
>> >>
>> >> Stephen, I know it sounds archaic, but I basically just add a
>> >> bunch of
>> >> WriteLn's to the code until it works the way I expect.  
>> (Actually, I
>> >> have a
>> >> "Logger" class which facilitates this and writes the info to a log
>> >> file if
>> >> and only if debug mode is turned on.) As a long-time Web CGI and
>> >> JavaScript
>> >> developer, I guess I'm just kind of used to this method of
>> >> debugging, so it
>> >> doesn't bother me. I'm not sure I'd advise employing this
>> >> methodology with
>> >> GUI development though.
>> >>
>> >> If you really want a C# debugger, you could always use VMWare or
>> >> Parallels on
>> >> Mac OS X to run a Windows or Linux debugger on an as-needed  
>> basis, I
>> >> suppose....
>> >>
>> >> Hope this helps,
>> >> Ed
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