Visualize Whirled Peas

The implementation guts of STL containers can make debugging even your typical std::vector an exercise in frustration, not to mention debugging the implementation guts of your own complex objects or objects from third party libraries. Fortunately, to make debugging easier, Visual Studio is able to display STL objects in a human readable format. That means you can avoid useless debugging views like this:

and instead have meaningful displays like this:

What’s great about this technology is that you can customize it yourself. Not only can you tweak the views for STL containers, you can write your own visualizers for the objects you care about.

Stephan T. Lavavej, a Visual C++ Libraries developer, revealed the visualizer secrets recently. You can download the details from his PowerPoint presentation or watch the presentation Stephan gave at BoostCon.

Happy (and more efficient) debugging!

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