Product Reviews

DevPartner Studio for Visual Studio .NET

Scale up your efforts to debug and monitor enterprise projects.

DevPartner Studio is a product designed to extend the capabilities of Visual Studio .NET, primarily aimed at corporate developers working on large distributed applications. As you move to a world where there are hundreds of components interacting on various machines, you can outstrip Visual Studio's ability to monitor and debug the application. That's where DevPartner Studio is designed to come in (the product also supports VB6 and VC++6, though I didn't look at those facets of it).

The product supports five main areas:

Performance analysis can profile an application under execution to locate bottlenecks and relate them back to source code modules and individual lines of code.

Coverage analysis will track code as you execute it and let you know which lines were never exercised. This is particularly useful for knowing whether your automatic test suite is hitting all parts of the product.

Distributed analysis lets you extend the performance and error detection to cover applications stretching across multiple components and computers. It correlates events to help you pinpoint problems in distributed applications.

Error detection catches and reports on a number of runtime errors. Many of these (like invalid pointer use) should be nonexistent in .NET applications, but things like COM leaks (cause by poorly-written interop code) and finalizer errors can still crop up.

Code review provides a rule-driven facility for locating potential errors in code, such as using string concatenation instead of the StringBuilder class, or making common logic errors. This part of the product can also analyze variable naming for conformance with your conventions and provide code metrics. There's a rules editor to let you customize the code review.

All of these capabilities are well-integrated with the Visual Studio .NET shell, and easy to use. I didn't have any serious trouble exercising the Professional edition on my test projects. Though this sort of product isn't really aimed at the sort of development that I do (mainly small utilities these days), it's obvious that it could be a boon for developers and testers tackling a major project using diverse technologies.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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