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Just a quick one to detail how this is done in case someone finds it useful. For those still getting into working with SharePoint features, a feature receiver is a class which contains some code you've written to execute when a feature gets activated. Or deactivated, installed or uninstalled.

The key thing to note is that it's just standard ASP.Net debugging. The process is:-

  • deploy the assembly to the runtime location, either the GAC or the site bin directory. Note that if it's the bin directory your feature will also need appropriate CAS policy to grant the code the permissions it requires.
  • deploy the .pdb file to the same location. If this is the GAC, you can do the following:-

    - map a drive to the GAC folder i.e. C:\WINDOWS\assembly but using a UNC path such as [MachineName]\C$\WINDOWS\assembly. This allows you to browse the GAC without the shell which the framework puts on the folder, thus allowing you to see the actual structure of the files on disk.
    - locate the GAC_MSIL subfolder. In here you will see a directory for each assembly currently stored in the GAC. Find the directory for your assembly, and add the .pdb file so it sits next to the dll.

  • In Visual Studio, attach the debugger to the w3wp.exe process. Note that occasionally there will be 2 of these processes (e.g. when the process is being recycled), and it's possible to attach to the wrong one. Either do an IISReset to stop them both so that only 1 spins up with the next web request, or type 'iisapp' at the command prompt to get the process IDs of the running w3wp.exe processes. You can then match the correct one to the list which appears in the 'Attach debugger' dialog.
  • Activate the feature through the web UI (Site settings > Site Collection features/Site features). The debugger will now stop on any breakpoints you set.

And remember that the assembly must be built in debug mode so that the symbols are created.

Thanks to Chris O'Brien for this info.
(NB this is a copy of his post stored here for my own reference.  Any questions, please follow the link to Chris's site.)


Posted on Thursday, February 4, 2010 7:20 PM SharePoint | Back to top

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