Monday, January 2, 2017

Impress your colleagues with your knowledge about... the Visual Studio Hosting process.

Sometimes when working with C# you discover some hidden gems. Some of them very useful, other ones a little bit harder to find a good way to benefit from their functionality. One of those hidden gems that you all used but probably never wondered about is the vshost file.

When you create and compile an application in Visual Studio you get 2 executables for the price of one; your main output exe and a second vshost.exe file. The second executable is used by default when you are debugging your application. It was introduced in Visual Studio 2005 and its purpose is to provide improved debugging performance(among other things like Enabling Partial-Trust Debugging and Design-Time Expression Evaluation).

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Without this hosting process, every time you debug your application an AppDomain has to be created, the debugger needs to be initialized and so on… This takes time and has a negative impact on the overall performance of your debugging experience. The hosting process speeds up this process by doing all of this work in the background before you hit F5, and keeping the state around between runs of your application.

If you don’t want to use this feature, you can disable it in the Project Properties by unchecking the “Enable the Visual Studio hosting process”:

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MSDN Documentation: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms242202.aspx

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