Josh Smith and I worked together at the Infragistics WinForms development lab and since I’m now working on WPF, I keep an eye on his blog. I also tend to read through the articles on codeproject. So when I saw that he posted a visualizer for wpf, I was naturally curious. I sent him a couple of thoughts about how he might want to change the visualizer.
If you’re not familiar with visualizers, you can check out this page on Microsoft’s site. Basically a visualizer is a tool used for debugging in Visual Studio. It allows you to provide a “visualization” or representation – hence the name – of an object in the program being debugged. They’re actually very powerful because they allow you to send information back and forth between the debugger and debuggee side.
Anyway, Josh then moved on to work on Mole with Karl Shifflett. I posted a bunch of performance related improvements as well as a number of suggestions (delving/drilling into the properties of objects, viewing the logical tree, etc). In the communications with Josh and Karl that followed, I was asked if I wanted to participate in the development with them.
Karl and Josh worked long hours in developing Mole II. I tried to help out where I could but given my schedule (work and personal) I couldn’t help as much as I would have liked. That aside, Josh and Karl were kind enough to include me as an author on the article. I have to say that both Josh and Karl are talented developers. Since I had worked with Josh before I knew he was intelligent and motivated. I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with Karl before but I must say that he is one of the most enthusiastic and driven developers that I have come across. I think the outcome is a great visualizer for inspecting WPF objects.