Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Flaw in SolutionContexts.GetEnumerator

I’m guessing that this post will be useful to a very small number of people if at all. However there might be a bigger lesson here for people writing their own collections and that is how not to code GetEnumerator method.

but first some background information.

when working with a visual studio add-in I needed find out weather a specific project is excluded from the build cycle.

the DTE provide interfaces and object to access this info and the code I ended up with looked like this:

   1: foreach (SolutionContext context in 
   2:    ApplicationObject.Solution.SolutionBuild.
   3:        ActiveConfiguration.SolutionContexts)
   4: {
   5:     if (context.ProjectName.Contains(project.Name))
   6:         return !context.ShouldBuild;
   7: }

However, this code resulted in an exception popping from time to time which took me a little while to understand.

the exception I got was :

The parameter is incorrect. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070057 (E_INVALIDARG))
System.Collections.IEnumerator GetEnumerator()
at EnvDTE.SolutionContexts.GetEnumerator()

where the line number pointed to the foreach statement.

After some digging I found that this happens if in the solution you have an unloaded project as part of the solution. and the fix was quite simple jut replace the foreach with a simple for resulting in something like:

   1: var contexts = ApplicationObject.Solution.
   2:    SolutionBuild.ActiveConfiguration.
   3:    SolutionContexts;
   5: for (int i = 0; i < contexts.Count; i++)
   6: {
   7:     try
   8:     {
   9:         var context = contexts.Item(i + 1);
  10:         if (context.ProjectName.Contains(project.Name))
  11:             return !context.ShouldBuild;
  12:     }
  13:     catch (ArgumentException)
  14:     {
  15:         //this is thrown when a project is unloaded
  16:     }
  17: }
  18: return false;

Now I can understand why an unloaded project will throw an exception if you try to access its configuration data. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t handle this inside the GetEnumerator and instead choose to crash it as well.

I think this is a mistake, in general if a piece of the information is missing don’t fail the entire operation just exclude that piece from the result. that way you will enable the user to decide what to do with the info he does have.

what do you think?


Anonymous said...

Ha! Thanks buddy, I am on of those very few people that you actually helped!

Lior Friedman: said...

And I thought this was way to esoteric to actually help someone.
thank you

Alex said...

Thanks a lot, I just found this, didn't think to use "for" and "Item()" as a workaround

Lior Friedman: said...

Glad to know this helps people.
it is really a nasty behavior

Anonymous said...

Add one more to the count of esoteric people you helped out. :)

Anonymous said...

Also FWIW this appears to be fixed in VS2012 RC.

Lior Friedman: said...

good to know.
thank you for sharing

Anonymous said...

thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks man! Just received a log from our customer having E_INVALIDARG in SolutionContexts.GetEnumerator() and found your post.
Worked like a charm.

Unknown said...

I can tell you that you saved my day. I've been on this one for two days with vs 2010.

Also thanks for the SolutionContexts.Item(i + 1). Documentation doesn't tell you that index is NOT zero based.

Thanks again.

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