.NET Tip: Debugging: Dynamically Determining the Name of the Current Function

Determining function names dynamically can simplify your debugging and trace logic as well as ensure that your trace messages match the actual code that generated them. All you have to do is wrap all your calls to Trace() with your own custom function. This utility function then can reference the stack frame to find the name of the function that called it. Here is the utility function:

public static void TraceContext(string FormattedMessage)
{
   Trace.WriteLine(string.Format(FormattedMessage,
      new System.Diagnostics.StackFrame(1).GetMethod().Name));
}

This function takes the message to output to Trace() and replaces the '{0}' in the message string with the name of the function that called TraceContext(). That is really all there is to it. To test the function, I created a form and added a button. In the button's click event, I call TraceContext() and call another function that also calls TraceContext(). Here is the sample code for calling TraceContext():

private void button1_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
   TraceContext("In event handler: {0}");
   DynamicNameTest();
}

private void DynamicNameTest()
{
   TraceContext("In function: {0}");
}

Here is the trace output when the button is clicked:

In event handler: button1_Click
In function: DynamicNameTest

You now can have confidence in your trace output because you do not have any hard-coded function names in your messages.

About the Author

Jay Miller is a Software Engineer with Electronic Tracking Systems, a company dedicated to robbery prevention, apprehension, and recovery based in Carrollton, Texas. Jay has been working with .NET since the release of the first beta and is co-author of Learn Microsoft Visual Basic.Net In a Weekend. Jay can be reached via email at jmiller@sm-ets.com.



Comments

  • Alternative

    Posted by jmcilhinney on 09/11/2007 09:14am

    System.Reflection.MethodBase.GetCurrentMethod().Name will give you the name of the current method.

    Reply
  • Clear and precise explanation

    Posted by JonnyPoet on 09/09/2007 01:16pm

    Very clear description of how to do,makes debugging easier

    Reply
Leave a Comment
  • Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

Top White Papers and Webcasts

  • Organizations are increasingly gravitating toward mobile-first application development as they assess the need to revamp their application portfolios to support touch computing and mobility. Consumerization has brought higher expectations for application usability along with the mobile devices themselves. Enterprises are increasingly shifting their new application acquisitions and development efforts toward mobile platforms. With this backdrop, it is natural to expect application platform vendors to invest in …

  • Gain buy-in, choose the right tools, and encourage employees to participate. Whether you need help introducing social media or making your efforts more successful, this is the guide for you. It contains 140 tips in tweet form (140 characters or less) with ideas for promoting social media, deciding which venues to use, and encouraging participation. Plus, the guide contains links to social media statistics, informative websites, and other resources.

Most Popular Programming Stories

More for Developers

RSS Feeds

Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date