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December 17, 2002—In this issue:
1. DEVELOPER .NET PERSPECTIVES
- Remote Debugging
- Planning on Getting Certified? Make Sure to Pick Up Our New eBook!
- New! News, Tips, and More to Keep Your Network Humming
- Featured Thread: Encountering a .NET Framework Error
4. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Integrate Notes and Domino into .NET Applications
5. CONTACT US
See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
1. DEVELOPER .NET PERSPECTIVES
(contributed by Bill Sheldon, email@example.com)
Remote debugging is an ability that developers always hope for but, in reality, tends to be a disappointment. Developers have asked for the ability to debug applications running on a remote machine since distributed development began. The good news is that the Microsoft .NET Framework supports remote debugging and the remote debugging in Visual Studio .NET is easier to set up than in past versions of Visual Studio. The bad news is that remote debugging is still limited. In most cases, using tracing to find problems in a remote machine's application is easier than using remote debugging. (For the purposes of this column, the remote server will be the machine on which the application code is running.)
Remote debugging in Visual Studio .NET has two major limitations, the first of which is that the components you use aren't .NET applications. Visual Studio .NET relies on COM components and the Distributed COM (DCOM) communication protocol. DCOM doesn't work well with firewalls. Thus, if a firewall separates you and the application you want to debug, you can't use remote debugging.
Remote debugging's second limitation concerns permissions. To use remote debugging, your workstation needs to be in the same domain as the remote server or you need to have full two-way trust between your workstation's domain and the remote server's domain. Thus, if you have an environment that has, for a variety of good reasons, been set up to separate your test and production environments from your company's default domain, you can't debug remotely. This limitation will probably disappoint most corporate developers because this type of setup is common in network operations groups. Although Microsoft suggests using terminal services to manage remote debugging, doing so is more like using a remote connection to debug locally than true remote debugging.
However, in some situations, remote debugging can be powerful. It lets you test components that will run on alternative OSs or test Microsoft SQL Server T-SQL commands on a remote database.
To use remote debugging, you must install some components on the remote server. Insert the Visual Studio .NET installation CD-ROM. At the bottom of the installation window, click Remote Components Setup. Next, you'll see a screen that lists the prerequisites for the remote server. One of the prerequisites is that you have a copy of the .NET Framework installed on the target machine. Note that you can install the redistributable version of the .NET Framework; you don't need the full .NET Framework software development kit (SDK).
After the list of prerequisites, you'll see two installation options: Full Remote Debugging and Native Remote Debugging. Select the Full Remote Debugging option, which installs support for debugging .NET applications, scripts, and SQL Server stored procedures. You want to select this option because .NET applications are managed code. The word "Native" in the second option isn't referencing the code associated with Visual Studio .NET but rather applications that have been compiled to the native machine language on the remote server. For this reason, some remote-debugging installation guides tell you to install only eight files (i.e., the Native Remote Debugging option), whereas 27 files make up the complete remote components package (i.e., the Full Remote Debugging option). The guides that tell you to install only eight files don't always mention that such installations support the debugging of native code only.
After you've install the components, you're ready to use remote debugging. However, you need to be aware of one quirk. By default, the account that you used to install the remote components is added to the Debugger Users group on the remote server. If you used a local Administrator account to install the components but you want to use a domain account for debugging, you need to add that account to the local Debugger Users group.
I've covered only the key steps to setting up remote debugging. If you want more detail about the setup process, this link is an excellent place to start.
Note that we won't be sending out Developer .NET UPDATE for the next 2 weeks because of the holidays. So, look for the next issue of Developer.NET UPDATE on January 7, 2003.
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Forum participant Martin installed the Microsoft .NET Framework on a computer running Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 (SP2) with no problems. However, his programs can't find the application. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:
4. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Sue Cooper, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Proposion announced Proposion N2N, a tool for integrating Lotus Notes and Domino into the Microsoft .NET Framework and Visual Studio .NET development tools, enabling Domino developers to take advantage of .NET tools. Proposion N2N lets you leverage .NET facilities for working with data connections. You can plug them into data grids and other UI components, connect to report writing tools, convert to and from XML, build Web services, and move data between application tiers in a Web server farm. Proposion N2N supports Lotus Notes and Domino 5.0 or later, and any .NET platform. Licensing is per-user or per-server. A lower-cost developer's version is available. Contact Proposion at 978-388-7342 or email@example.com.
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