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Posted 22 Jun 2009

Easy Debugging of NUnit Tests from Visual Studio 2008 Professional

, 23 Jun 2009
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How to easily debug NUnit tests in Visual Studio 2008 professional edition


This article describes a convenient way of debugging NUnit tests using open source plugin to Visual Studio 2008. Many open source and cross platform projects choose NUnit testing framework for mono and nant support.


Visual Nunit plugin for Visual Studio 2008 was developed to speed up development of MXP protocol reference implementation. Being able to debug unit tests easily from integrated development environment is a big efficiency factor.


  1. Download the latest release from here.
  2. Run the installer.
  3. Start Visual Studio 2008.
  4. Select from Menu View->Other Windows->NUnit View.
  5. Place the view to location of your choice.

Debugging Process

The debugging with Visual Nunit is achieved by simply double clicking the test at NUnit View. To create test cases to your project, do the following steps:

  1. Download NUnit 2.5 from here.
  2. Add nunit.framework.dll to your projects references.
  3. Add test case to the project (See example below).
  4. Make sure your project dependencies have copy local properties set.
  5. Build the project.
  6. To start debugging, click the arrow button of a test row in the NUnit View.
  7. Proceed as normal with Visual Studio Debugging.

Stopping debug will terminate the nunit runner process if your unit test is hanging or if you do not wish to wait until it is completed.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Text;
using NUnit.Framework;
using System.Diagnostics;
using System.Threading;

namespace NunitTests
    public class ExampleTestFixture
        public void TestSuccess()
            Trace.TraceInformation("Test trace.");

        public void TestException()
            throw new Exception("Test Exception");

        public void TestAssert()
            Assert.Fail("Test Assert");

        public void TestHang()

Points of Interest

Visual Nunit was written with Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 SDK. The project type is Visual Studio Integration Package and the sources are available as open source project from here.


  • 21st June 2009 - Initial version


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Apache License, Version 2.0


About the Author

Tommi Laukkanen
Finland Finland
Web and rich client solutions since 2002 with .NET and Java.

Open source contributor to Visual Nunit, OpenSimulator, MXP protocol and IdealistViewer.

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Comments and Discussions

Questioncan't step through code Pin
gary-s14-Apr-12 10:55
membergary-s14-Apr-12 10:55 
QuestionRe: can't step through code Pin
Andreas Gieriet26-Dec-12 13:20
memberAndreas Gieriet26-Dec-12 13:20 
QuestionVery nice tool! just one question Pin
paul.vencill5-May-11 6:34
memberpaul.vencill5-May-11 6:34 
Generalvisual NUnit can't find unit tests Pin
x-coder200710-Jan-11 2:09
memberx-coder200710-Jan-11 2:09 
GeneralCan't run tests - please help Pin
bszom28-Oct-10 6:40
memberbszom28-Oct-10 6:40 
GeneralRe: Can't run tests - please help Pin
naughton8-Aug-12 15:28
membernaughton8-Aug-12 15:28 
GeneralVisual Nunit 2010 1.1.7 Released Pin
Tommi Laukkanen9-Oct-10 22:55
memberTommi Laukkanen9-Oct-10 22:55 
GeneralRe: Visual Nunit 2010 1.1.7 Released Pin
Scythal31-Dec-10 6:41
memberScythal31-Dec-10 6:41 
GeneralStopping at breakpoints Pin
Member 292366017-Aug-10 16:14
memberMember 292366017-Aug-10 16:14 
GeneralRe: Stopping at breakpoints Pin
Tommi Laukkanen9-Oct-10 22:53
memberTommi Laukkanen9-Oct-10 22:53 
GeneralDebugging of NUnit tests:VS 2010, Visual NUnit and project's config file Pin
levenyu16-Aug-10 13:02
memberlevenyu16-Aug-10 13:02 
Hi folks!

I have installed VisualNunit_2010_1_1_6.vsix, which provided me with the Visual NUnit v. 1.1.6 extension for VS 2010.
Visual NUnit v. 1.1.6 runs and allows me to debug the test and other code, but there is an issue.
For example, the following test statement fails by throwing NullReferenceException (Object reference not set to an instance of an object.) when I try to debug my test code (using debug F10 key in particular):
Assert.IsInstanceOf<String>(ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings["MyTestConnInfo"].ConnectionString, "Assert.IsInstanceOf<String>");

It happens because Visual NUnit does not see my project's config file (and I have just one project under my Web application solution) and therefore ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings collection works with machine.config file which is the only one found at that moment.
Please note that I do not have any problem related to the use/read of project's config file(s) when I use NUnit 2.5.7 GUI application and when I attach my tests to that running process. For that I copied my web.config file as MyTestProject.config file which matches MyTestProject.cproj file by name.
So, how can I make the Visual NUnit to find and read configuration key values from the project's config file(s) under VS 2010? E.g. Web.config file located at the root of my web application?

Please advise.

Thank you,
GeneralRe: Debugging of NUnit tests:VS 2010, Visual NUnit and project's config file Pin
SRM196929-Sep-10 18:45
memberSRM196929-Sep-10 18:45 
GeneralRe: Debugging of NUnit tests:VS 2010, Visual NUnit and project's config file Pin
Tommi Laukkanen29-Sep-10 19:18
memberTommi Laukkanen29-Sep-10 19:18 
QuestionCould you make a VS 2010 version please? Pin
Omar Al Zabir5-May-10 6:12
mvpOmar Al Zabir5-May-10 6:12 
AnswerRe: Could you make a VS 2010 version please? Pin
Tommi Laukkanen5-May-10 6:47
memberTommi Laukkanen5-May-10 6:47 
GeneralVisual Nunit 2010 1.1 and Visual Nunit 2008 1.0.2 released Pin
Tommi Laukkanen19-Dec-09 5:20
memberTommi Laukkanen19-Dec-09 5:20 
QuestionTests not showing up? Pin
Bernard O'Flynn27-Nov-09 0:36
memberBernard O'Flynn27-Nov-09 0:36 
AnswerRe: Tests not showing up? Pin
Dan Neely7-Jan-10 6:18
memberDan Neely7-Jan-10 6:18 
AnswerRe: Tests not showing up? Pin
jfh1089-Jan-10 8:13
memberjfh1089-Jan-10 8:13 
AnswerRe: Tests not showing up? Pin
om29722-Jan-10 0:59
memberom29722-Jan-10 0:59 
GeneralBeta Release of Visual Nunit support for Visual Studio 2010 Pin
Tommi Laukkanen6-Nov-09 18:21
memberTommi Laukkanen6-Nov-09 18:21 
GeneralVisual Nunit 1.0.1 Released Pin
Tommi Laukkanen1-Nov-09 7:53
memberTommi Laukkanen1-Nov-09 7:53 
GeneralVisual Nunit Runner stopped working Pin
tomasz pr.30-Jul-09 2:26
membertomasz pr.30-Jul-09 2:26 
GeneralRe: Visual Nunit Runner stopped working Pin
Tommi Laukkanen30-Jul-09 21:11
memberTommi Laukkanen30-Jul-09 21:11 
GeneralRe: Visual Nunit Runner stopped working Pin
tomasz pr.30-Jul-09 22:56
membertomasz pr.30-Jul-09 22:56 

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