Designers Guide to Debugging WPF Applications with Snoop

UPDATE: The makers of Snoop have made an installer that makes this post obsolete. Go get it… it’s well updated and worth it.

Download the super-simple Snoop files. (Just extract and run.)

Snoop is a great tool for debugging WPF applications.

It allows one to see the entire tree of the project that one is working on. For me, this meant that I can find out quickly and easily if the object I’m trying to target with a particular style or template is acutally implementing that style or template. I can check the properties of the items I thought I changed only to discover that nothing is changing. In a recent project, when I was flabergasted as to why my design wasn’t showing up, Snoop helped me determine that it was an error in the code implementation, which is translated roughly into “not my fault”.

 Unfortunately, when I first realized I needed it, it took me a while to figure out how to get it to run.

 “a while” in this instance means 3-4 hours and one hour worth of IM with a developer friend.

The problem that I had was that actually running Snoop isn’t a very designer friendly process. You have to download the source code, convert the file formats, change the read-only settings, and a number of other things before you can get it to work. So I decided to give anyone who isn’t interested in that process a shortcut to debugging their WPF applications.

Just download this and run the snoop.exe file. No Visual Studio nonsense required. Check this link for more information on using Snoop.