Getting Started with Visual Studio

If you still need to install Visual Studio or build your first app, check out our earlier articles.


Debug cross-language

Rich debugging for all your code

Visual Studio provides an excellent debugging experience no matter what language you use – from C#/VB and C++, to JavaScript and Python, to XAML and HTML, all supported languages have debugging support. Go ahead and get started with debugging in Visual Studio 2015.

Any platform or place

Locally, remotely, and in production

Anywhere your code runs, Visual Studio can debug it – from launching a local Windows app on the desktop or in the Android emulator, to attaching a remote Azure instance, iOS device, or gaming console; or to any web browser.

You can debug issues offline in your production environment using capabilities such as IntelliTrace and deep analysis of dump files. To learn more about these features, follow our walkthrough on using IntelliTrace.



Fine-grained control

Decide exactly where and when you want to break and examine state

The Visual Studio debugger lets you control execution, that is, decide exactly where you want to pause all the threads in the process, and inspect state at that point. You can Break All at any time, Step Over statements, Step Into and Out of functions, Run To Cursor, Edit and Continue, and everybody’s favorite, set Breakpoints.

Go ahead, take things to the next level and configure flexible conditions and actions for your breakpoints.

Flexibly inspect state

See values of variables at runtime

Once you pause the application where you want it, Visual Studio offers many ways for you to inspect the value of your variables, to form or verify a hypothesis.

Monitor a value while stepping through your code; glance at local variables, and evaluate complex expressions – all without leaving the debugger. You can even interactively query deep into a data structure.



Exceptions are good

Get alerted when things go wrong

Code defects and unexpected situations manifest themselves as exceptions. Exceptions will crash your app or simply become hard bugs to track down.

While debugging with Visual Studio you can configure notifications when exceptions are thrown, and even choose specific exceptions of interest to focus on. You get alerted and from there, it is as easy as if you had hit a breakpoint.

Threading made easy

Simplify control and inspection of complex multi-threaded code

Multi-threaded code is notoriously tough to debug. Visual Studio lets you control the execution of multiple threads at once and inspect state across many threads to make the big picture pop.

See all the thread call stacks in a single graphical view and evaluate expressions across multiple threads to compare values. Easily view information about threads and tasks, flag them, and freeze them. Quickly switch between execution contexts, and use thread markers to see which lines of code your threads are executing at any moment.



Close to the metal…

Dig as deep as your code requires

Sometimes, especially for system- level C++ code, you need to drop closer to the hardware level to diagnose hard to find bugs. Visual Studio supports you to get this done with the Memory, Registers, and disassembly window. Learn how to find memory leaks using the CRT library.

Prevent perf issues

Make your app fast and robust

Get information to help you make good performance choices as you code. Use in-editor PerfTips and diagnostics tools to understand the performance and memory characteristics of your code while you are debugging.

Use comprehensive profiling tools without the debugger to get deeper insights into your app’s performance, including CPU, GPU, and memory usage, UI responsiveness, and network utilization. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Profiling Tools.



No more “no repro”

Code execution history for .NET code

As you edit and F5 to test your .NET code, you encounter an unexpected behavior, a bug. Diagnosing that bug can sometimes take hours of searching through source code to find the relevant pieces of code and repeated guesses of where to set a breakpoint.

With Visual Studio diagnostic tools and IntelliTrace you can see the history of your code’s execution and navigate back to inspect state without breakpoints.

Simple UI debugging

XAML and HTML are code too

You can get the app to look the way you want while it is running – no more relying on design time data to verify your layout.

For apps with an HTML or XAML user interface, identify issues in your UI layer by using code debugging features. Visual Studio also allows you to explore the HTML DOM and visualize the structure of XAML code using the XAML Visual Tree while your app is running. Learn how to inspect XAML elements while debugging.