Monday, June 7, 2010

Debugging a Plug-in

The following steps describe how to debug a plug-in.

1. Deploy the plug-in assembly.
Copy the assembly to the standard plug-in folder on the server: \Server\bin\assembly. If there is another copy of the assembly at the same location and you cannot overwrite that copy because it is locked by Microsoft Dynamics CRM, run the iisreset program in a command window to free the assembly.

2. Register the plug-in on the desired stage of the event execution pipeline. Register the plug-in assembly on the server using on-disk deployment.
Tip It is possible to debug a database deployed plug-in. The compiled plug-in assembly's .pdb file must be copied to the server's \Server\bin\assembly folder and IIS must then be restarted. After debugging has been completed, you must remove the .pdb file and reset IIS to prevent the w3wp.exe process from consuming additional memory.

Generally, you do not want to register your plug-in in the event execution pipeline until the plug-in assembly is available on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM server. If someone else is using Microsoft Dynamics CRM on the server, and you have registered the plug-in in but have not yet deployed the assembly, the person running Microsoft Dynamics CRM receives an error if the system tries to execute the missing plug-in.

3. Configure the debugger.
Set a breakpoint in your plug-in code. For an online plug-in, attach the debugger to the w3wp.exe process on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM server. For an offline plug-in, attach the debugger to the Microsoft.Crm.Application.Hoster.exe process. For asynchronous registered plug-ins (or workflow assemblies) attach to the CrmAsyncService.exe process. If there are multiple processes running for the same executable file, attach the debugger to all of them because you do not know which process runs your custom code.

4. Test the plug-in.
Run the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Web application, or other custom application that uses the SDK, and perform whatever action is required to cause the plug-in to execute. For example, if a plug-in is registered for an account creation event, create a new account.

5. Debug your plug-in code.
Make any needed changes to your code so that it performs as you want. If the code is changed, compile the code into an assembly and repeat step numbers 1, 3, and 4 in this procedure as necessary. However, if you change the plug-in assembly version number, you must unregister the earlier version of the assembly and register the new version.

6. Register the plug-in in the database.
After the edit/compile/deploy/test/debug cycle for your plug-in has been completed, unregister the (on-disk) plug-in assembly and then reregister the plug-in in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM database.

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