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Debug a Plugin with Dataverse Browser – Insight

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Hi Folks,

This post is for all who are working on D365 and mainly on Plugins.

Yes, you saw it right, in this blog post, we will see how can debug plugin without using our favorite plugin profiler which is very widely used from quite some time by everyone working on Plugins for Dynamics 365. All this is done by a tool called Dataverse Browser, which is not yet on XrmToolBox. Please note that there were some limitations as detailed in limitation section below.

Here are 3 simple steps to follow..

  1. Install Dataverse Browser
  2. Attach the Debugger
  3. Run your actual operation
  4. Step into your code and debug it.

The tool embeds a web browser based on Chromium. It works by translating the Web API requests to SDK requests. Then it analyzes if plugin steps are registered on the message and it loads them, make them run locally. All other requests are sent to the Dataverse, so that the plugins are interacting with the real database.

Download the latest source code of Dataverse browser here.

Next extract the zip file downloaded as highlighted below

Extract the zip file downloaded, open Dataverse.Browser Application as highlighted below.

In the popup window, click on More info as highlighted below…

Then run the application anyway…you will be presented with a window where you can select the environment. Going forward, any time you want to open Dataverse browser, just open the Dataverse.Browser.exe and choose the environment as below.

Click on New, enter the details as above and key in the details.

  • Enter the settings of your environment:
    • A name meaningful for you
    • The host name of your instance (without the https://)
    • The path to the plugins assembly file (the dll). For a better experience, it should be compiled in debug mode with the pdb file generated.

Then click Go.

You just need to Authenticate to your instance.

Once Authenticated to the respective model driven apps, all the Web API requests sent to Dataverse will be shown as below.

I have following Plugin Libraries registered.

Next step is to choose the instance and perform the respective operation which triggers the Plugin. So, in here, I will perform an update to the Account entity from the Dataverse Browser which triggers the Plugin.

Once an update is performed, a Web API request gets recorded in the Dataverse browser as highlighted below.

Since the Plugin is in Post Operation, i.e. Stage number is 40

Just expand the Patch Request, you should see two operations on 30, 40, but area of interest here is for the Plugin which was registered on stage 40.

Make sure you open the Visual Studio and perform the below steps.

Then attach the debugger from Dataverse Browser by clicking on the Plugin Symbol as below which will show the list of debugger options available for you to select from. Here I have selected Execute Plugins, plugin will be invoked. You can either select any of the three options as presented below.

1.Do not execute plugins – recommended when you want to debug without actually triggering your plugin logic. i.e. With this approach even you can check the code in Production environment.

2. Execute plugins/Execute plugins with auto break – recommended when you want to debug by triggering your actual plugin, this is recommended in case your plugin code had changed recently and in Development environments.

Just select New instance of Visual Studio Professional 2022 version which will launch a new version of Visual studio 2022 as below in break mode. Next click on Continue as highlighted below or press Click F5 on your keyboard.

This shows you that the debugger has been attached when you navigate to Dataverse Browser asking you to place your breakpoints.

Now just place breakpoints in your code in Visual Studio. Just go back to Dataverse Browser and click on Ok on the Diaglog box.

Perform the operation which triggers the Plugin from Dataverse Browser itself, this will hit the break point in Visual Studio from where you can debug your plugin.

As you might have observed, your code need not throw exception in order to debug, you could do similarly to the way you would debug using Profiler. But here just that you don’t need to deploy the latest code to the Dataverse just for debugging purpose.

This gives a lot more flexibility eases the way you debug plugins.

Limitions:

  • There is no support for transactions.
  • When plugins are triggered because of a server-side operation, they will not be run locally.
  • For many reasons, behavior will never be perfectly similar to the one when plugins are executed on server side.

Happy debugging, I hope you found this post useful…

References:

Cheers,

PMDY

Author: Pavan Mani Deep Y

Technology geek who loves sharing my leanings, quick tips and new features on Dynamics 365 & related tools, technologies. An Azure IOT Enthusiast….

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