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Posted 26 Dec 2007


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Zeta Color Visualizer

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26 Dec 2007CPOL2 min read
A Visual Studio .NET 2008 Debugger Visualizer for the Color structure
Image 1 Image 2 Image 3


This short article presents you a tiny Debugger Visualizer for Visual Studio .NET 2008 to visualize Color structure data types.

A Debugger Visualizer is being used while you debug your code. Whenever you inspect a variable, Debugger Visualizers help you to display the current value of a variable in a more useful way.

There are several built-in Debugger Visualizers, e.g. for strings, for XML strings, for HTML strings or DataSets. In addition you can extend the Debugger Visualizers by providing your own. Several CodeProject members already did.


Inspired by this article that shows a Debugger Visualizer for displaying Image class data types, I created this one here. No rocket science but probably quite handy, at least to me.

Installing the Debugger Visualizer

To install the Debugger Visualizer on your system, simply drop the DLL directly in the Visualizers Visual Studio .NET 2008 folder of your user account.

In my installation on Windows Vista, this complete folder path is named C:\Users\ukeim\Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Visualizers. Yours may differ.

Using the Debugger Visualizer

After this "installation", simply debug as normal, setting your breakpoints. Whenever you are about to inspect a variable of type Color, you see the magnification glass. Click it and you see the Debugger Visualizer displaying the value.

Image 4

Please note that I explicitly compiled the DLL against Visual Studio .NET 2008 (i.e. it probably will be unusable for Visual Studio .NET 2005 without rebuilding).

Building the DLL on your Own

In the download ZIP archive for this article, I included both the DLL and the source code (of course). The source contains the actual Debugger Visualizer, as well as some very tiny console applications to test it.

(Interestingly enough, you do not need to restart Visual Studio .NET in order to have changes available in the debugger. It appears immediately - nice one!)

I set up my build environment so that the output of the build (i.e. the Debugger Visualizer DLL) is being placed directly in the Visualizers folder, thus giving me maximum comfort when developing the DLL itself.

If you have this folder structure, too:

Image 5

...then you can use the solution directly, since the build output points to the Visualizers folder with a relative folder path:

Image 6

Enjoy using and enhancing. I'm looking forward for your feedback!


  • 2007-12-26: Created first version


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Uwe Keim
Chief Technology Officer Zeta Producer Desktop CMS
Germany Germany
Uwe does programming since 1989 with experiences in Assembler, C++, MFC and lots of web- and database stuff and now uses ASP.NET and C# extensively, too. He has also teached programming to students at the local university.

In his free time, he does climbing, running and mountain biking. Recently he became a father of a cute boy.

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionVS 2015 Pin
Mark Oliver14-Aug-16 3:26
MemberMark Oliver14-Aug-16 3:26 
QuestionMedia Color Pin
strtdusty29-Aug-08 6:51
Memberstrtdusty29-Aug-08 6:51 
AnswerRe: Media Color Pin
Uwe Keim29-Aug-08 7:09
sitebuilderUwe Keim29-Aug-08 7:09 
GeneralRe: Media Color Pin
strtdusty29-Aug-08 7:24
Memberstrtdusty29-Aug-08 7:24 
GeneralAs always, ausgezeichnet! Pin
Christian Merritt8-Jan-08 15:13
MemberChristian Merritt8-Jan-08 15:13 
GeneralRe: As always, ausgezeichnet! Pin
Uwe Keim27-Jan-08 8:56
sitebuilderUwe Keim27-Jan-08 8:56 
GeneralRe: As always, ausgezeichnet! Pin
Christian Merritt27-Jan-08 9:20
MemberChristian Merritt27-Jan-08 9:20 
JokeRe: As always, ausgezeichnet! Pin
Uwe Keim27-Jan-08 9:21
sitebuilderUwe Keim27-Jan-08 9:21 
GeneralThanks!!! Pin
Paw Jershauge8-Jan-08 12:34
MemberPaw Jershauge8-Jan-08 12:34 
GeneralRe: Thanks!!! Pin
Uwe Keim27-Jan-08 8:56
sitebuilderUwe Keim27-Jan-08 8:56 
GeneralNicely Done Pin
Tomer Noy31-Dec-07 4:22
MemberTomer Noy31-Dec-07 4:22 
GeneralRe: Nicely Done Pin
Uwe Keim1-Jan-08 11:39
sitebuilderUwe Keim1-Jan-08 11:39 
GeneralSmart idea Pin
axuno28-Dec-07 11:34
Memberaxuno28-Dec-07 11:34 
GeneralRe: Smart idea Pin
Uwe Keim29-Dec-07 0:08
sitebuilderUwe Keim29-Dec-07 0:08 
GeneralSweet! Pin
Ravi Bhavnani26-Dec-07 16:55
professionalRavi Bhavnani26-Dec-07 16:55 
GeneralRe: Sweet! Pin
Uwe Keim26-Dec-07 20:39
sitebuilderUwe Keim26-Dec-07 20:39 
GeneralVery nice Pin
Daniel Vaughan26-Dec-07 16:10
MemberDaniel Vaughan26-Dec-07 16:10 
GeneralRe: Very nice Pin
Uwe Keim26-Dec-07 20:38
sitebuilderUwe Keim26-Dec-07 20:38 

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