F5 debugging is pretty cool, but for small and not complicated projects. You know, that by pressing F5 your solution will be deployed again, including all steps - add solution, install solution, activate features. And it often takes really long time.
There is a couple of extensions for visual studio that makes your life easier. As for me, I use CKS DEV extensions. How cks dev can increase debugging and even overall development process:
- it has quick deploy actions - copy to gac\bin, copy to sharepoint root, recycle app pool, iisreset and so on
- it adds new useful deployment steps (copy gac\bin, copy to sharepoint root, recycle app pool, iisreset, call powershell script, attach to w3wp processes, attach to other sharepoint process and many other steps)
- and also it adds new sharepoint project items (SPI) available in add new item window
Example how I use cks dev. To debug code, I've created new deployment configuration with this steps:
1.Copy to gac\bin
2.Recycle app pools
3.Warm up sharepoint site
4. Attach to IIS worker process.
Now every time I click deploy, I have updated dll in the gac, visual studio attached to w3wp and ready to debug. This of course works faster than full redeploy cycle. If I need only update files in 14 hive I use copy to sharepoint root command form context menu.