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How does one debug ASP Classic with VWD Express?

My question is simple:
How does one debug ASP Classic with Microsoft Visual Web
Developer Express 2005 ("VWD")?

Looming in the back of anyone's mind when you see a posting
like this on any newsgroup is "didn't this guy read the docs?"

Frankly, I "sort of did" a number of times. I feel the days of
"things that are intuitively obvious" to use long ago gave way to
"things that are clear after a 'Hello World'" example. And those
things now are gone (since .Net) and have perhaps given way
to the on-line-tutorial (at best). Still, I'm at a loss for any easy
to use instructions for debugging Classic ASP with VWD Express.

I'm not even sure, this time, what I'm looking for. With VB6 and
VBA, I fully expect "Step-Into, Step-Over, and Step-Outof" control
of execution — plus at least a Call Stack window of some sort.
But with VBScript, are these things possible? I assume they are
because isn't it the fully-compiled language system that cannot be
"parsed," if you will, in execution mode? Then again, we have the
whole IIS/ASP architecture. I've always debugged these programs
with just Notepad and a browser — and often-times, Front Page.
And I never was consistently successful getting Front Page to do
anything clever like grab ahold of an instance of a debugger or a
broswer and have them all work together.

I written soooo much in VB6. I'm spoiled by the simplicity of the
programming scenario (fat client / one machine) and the luxury of
the VB6 Development Environment. My experience from all that
work is now reduced to just so many bad habits.

Before I get into translating all that VB6/VBA/VBScript into VB.Net
or C#, I need to pay some bills! And this is getting harder and
harder to do now that my business seems to have moved over to
100% web-based applications. My productivity is in the toilet!

So, my friends of the ASP Classic and VWD Express, H-E-L-P !!!

Jim Rodgers

Aug 15 '07 #1
5 3635

"Jim Rodgers" <Ji********@discussions.microsoft.comwrote in message
news:12**********************************@microsof t.com...
My question is simple:
How does one debug ASP Classic with Microsoft Visual Web
Developer Express 2005 ("VWD")?

Looming in the back of anyone's mind when you see a posting
like this on any newsgroup is "didn't this guy read the docs?"

Frankly, I "sort of did" a number of times. I feel the days of
"things that are intuitively obvious" to use long ago gave way to
"things that are clear after a 'Hello World'" example. And those
things now are gone (since .Net) and have perhaps given way
to the on-line-tutorial (at best). Still, I'm at a loss for any easy
to use instructions for debugging Classic ASP with VWD Express.

I'm not even sure, this time, what I'm looking for. With VB6 and
VBA, I fully expect "Step-Into, Step-Over, and Step-Outof" control
of execution - plus at least a Call Stack window of some sort.
But with VBScript, are these things possible? I assume they are
because isn't it the fully-compiled language system that cannot be
"parsed," if you will, in execution mode? Then again, we have the
whole IIS/ASP architecture. I've always debugged these programs
with just Notepad and a browser - and often-times, Front Page.
And I never was consistently successful getting Front Page to do
anything clever like grab ahold of an instance of a debugger or a
broswer and have them all work together.

I written soooo much in VB6. I'm spoiled by the simplicity of the
programming scenario (fat client / one machine) and the luxury of
the VB6 Development Environment. My experience from all that
work is now reduced to just so many bad habits.

Before I get into translating all that VB6/VBA/VBScript into VB.Net
or C#, I need to pay some bills! And this is getting harder and
harder to do now that my business seems to have moved over to
100% web-based applications. My productivity is in the toilet!

So, my friends of the ASP Classic and VWD Express, H-E-L-P !!!
I have no idea what VWD's debug capabilities are, however, I do know of a
simple way to test the script debugging capabilities of your system as it
sits:

Open a command prompt, and execute a valid .vbs or .js script file, passing
the //x option. You may wish to copy an existing script file, or create a
simple one just for this -- whatever's easiest for you. The only
requirements are that it must be syntactically valid, and it must have at
least one executable line of code (i.e, for .VBS files, it can't just
contain Dim statements.)

For argument's sake, let's suppose you have opened a command prompt, changed
directory to C:\Test, and a valid VBScript file named C:\Test\debugcheck.vbs
exists. At the prompt type:

debugcheck.vbs //x

This will attempt to execute the script in the default debugger,
automatically breaking on the first executable line. It may give you a
choice of more than one debugging app, some or all of which may or may not
be correctly installed.

The goal here is to establish whether or not a working script debugger is
installed. Debugging ASP script is more involved than debugging client-side
script, IIS settings, permissions, blah blah blah -- but chasing any of
those is pointless unless you know you have the software to debug *any*
script installed/working. Executing client-side script //x is by far the
easiest reality check for this.

Simple flow chart:
------------------

I want to Debug ASP
\|/
Is a script debugger installed and working?
\|/ \|/
No Yes
\|/ \|/
Install one, Attach to ASP
or make one script host process
work and set break points
\|/
Does it work? -Yes -Woohoo,
done
\|/
No
\|/
[too convoluted
to diagram here]
Good luck!

-Mark
Jim Rodgers

Aug 15 '07 #2
VWD isn't really designed for classic ASP.

Try ASP Studio, it's designed for debugging classic ASP.

http://en.ewebxp.com/
Aug 16 '07 #3
"Jon Paal [MSMD]" wrote:
VWD isn't really designed for classic ASP.
Try ASP Studio, it's designed for debugging classic ASP.
http://en.ewebxp.com/

On that site, I look for info and find this:

"With no server , you can edit and debug an ASP project with the help of ASP
server integrated capable of debugging , after you create an ASP project
simply."

....Is this a foreshadow of the Help File?

Actually, what I am looking for is a VWD-resident (add-on?)
that can wizard my lazy butt into an easy-to-use debug
configuration for ASP Classic — and perhaps another one that
can show me how actually to debug with it.

I learned long ago at first to avoid 3rd party tools and controls.
Usually it's just more license fees and an incompatible product
life cycle. I don't have that kind of time since I use whatever I
use on about a dozen PC's in a given month. 3rd party stuff,
for example a reasonable SNMP Manager object, I have to
keep in just one or two places because of license and, of course,
configuration issues. Those components get shared only after
they are compiled (VB6).

====================

As I understand it, there is, somewhere, a set of instructions
that will show me how to set-up and use VWD for debugging
Classic ASP with VBScript.

Obviously, VWD is somewhat hostile towards development with
Classic ASP. There is no ASP file type in the Add New File
Dialog, and id you try to use the "Comment" button on the
toolbar, you get the <!-- --treatment around your VBScript
statements rather than apostrophe's !!! I'm not impressed.
I'd fire the guy who thought THIS was a good idea.

But I want to use it, and I believe these limitations either
already have secret solutions, or MS will be reasonable and
fix it, for crying out loud!

================

So, can anyone tell me how to open my files in VWD can
proceed to debug them?

Sincerely looking for help with this,

Jim Rodgers
Aug 17 '07 #4
Classic ASP is not being developed any further. The fact that a product for debugging exists at all is amazing.

VWD Express is not likely to give you what you want your way. I believe Add-ons are only an option for Visual Studio, not the
Express versions.
http://blogs.msdn.com/mikhailarkhipo...26/647516.aspx

Aug 17 '07 #5
"Mark J. McGinty" wrote:
>
As I understand it, there is, somewhere, a set of instructions
that will show me how to set-up and use VWD for debugging
Classic ASP with VBScript.

So, can anyone tell me how to open my files in VWD can
proceed to debug them?

Sincerely looking for help with this,
Did you read my first post? If you perform the reality check I described,
and VWD is capable of debugging script (because that's exactly what classic
ASP is: script) it should show up as an option, in a list of installed
debugging applications that you can choose from.

If VWD does show in the list, you'll only need a little config, and to
figure out how to make VWD attach to ASP's script host process. (Usually a
Process menu item, that opens a dialog.) From there, set some break points
and you're in.

If VWD is incapable of debugging classic ASP, does that mean you will simply
forgo use of a real, source-level debugging environment entirely, and revert
to Response.Write and the browser? Suit yourself, but you've gotta know
they don't even compare.
I understand. I never had as much script to debug as I do now.
I always got along fine using Response.Write, etc., ...and I have
recently developed a lot of technique based on that. As a matter
of fact, I really learned a lot about ASP and IIS this way. Some
of my crazy adhoc debug tools led to techniques I use in product
code.

However, enough is enough.

...If you've got VS6, install Interdev; if you've got VS 2003 or VS 2005,
script debugging is integral to the IDEs.

Personally I consider the ability to debug ASP code to be a requirement, it
has saved me hours upon countless hours. Further, some problems are
virtually impossible to fully understand by dumping values to the browser;
using a real debugger is the only way to debug that shows you everything at
once, without leaving you to make assumptions about which branches executed
and which variables contained what.
As I am planning to wrap-up much of my script into DLLs, I
will be hurting if I cannot stop and examine objects.

...You say you're familiar with VB6 debugging?
You'll be right at home, not much new to learn, only a few extra details
needed to make it happen.
-Mark
Thanks, Mark.

Cheers,

Jim Rodgers
Aug 17 '07 #6

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