Using the VisualGDB Plugin

Using the VisualGDB Plugin


I feel at home in Visual Studio. It has so many options that it can be used for virtually anything. IDEs like the Arduino IDE are great as far as they go, but I find it very clunky.

So, when I started developing applications for microcontrollers like the ESP32, I looked around for a plugin for Visual Studio to make my life easier. I found a few tools, but the best – for me – was VisualGDB.

VisualGDB is a powerful and versatile IDE plugin that seamlessly integrates with Visual Studio, providing a comprehensive development environment for ESP32 microcontrollers.

It offers a range of features catering to novice and experienced developers, making it an appealing choice for embedded systems programming.

Ease of Use and Integration

VisualGDB excels in its user-friendly interface and seamless integration with the Visual Studio environment.

Developers familiar with Visual Studio will find it intuitive to navigate and utilise the plugin’s features.

The plugin’s graphical debugger is particularly user-friendly, allowing for easy step-by-step code execution, breakpoint placement, and variable inspection.

Hardware Support and Debugging

VisualGDB provides comprehensive support for a wide range of ESP32 development boards, ensuring compatibility with various hardware configurations.

It offers a powerful hardware debugging mechanism, enabling developers to interact with their ESP32 devices through various interfaces, including JTAG, SWD, and UART.

This facilitates effective debugging and troubleshooting during the development process.

Code Editing and Compile

VisualGDB offers a comprehensive code editing experience, including syntax highlighting, code completion, and code inspections.

It provides a streamlined workflow for compiling and deploying ESP32 applications, simplifying the development process.

The plugin also supports various programming languages, including C, C++, and JavaScript, catering to various ESP32 development needs.

Profiling and Optimisation

VisualGDB includes profiling tools that help developers identify performance bottlenecks and optimise their ESP32 applications.

These tools provide insights into memory usage, execution time, and resource consumption, enabling developers to refine their code for efficiency and responsiveness.

ESP32 Specific Features

VisualGDB offers specific features tailored for ESP32 development, such as:

  • ESP-IDF integration: VisualGDB integrates seamlessly with the ESP-IDF development framework, providing a smooth workflow for building and deploying ESP32 applications.
  • ESP32 libraries: VisualGDB includes a comprehensive library of ESP32-specific libraries, facilitating access to various peripherals and functionalities.
  • Cloud support: VisualGDB supports cloud deployment of ESP32 applications, enabling developers to easily deploy their code to cloud platforms.

Overall Impression

VisualGDB stands out as a powerful and user-friendly IDE plugin for ESP32 development. Its ease of use, comprehensive debugging capabilities, and ESP32-specific features make it an ideal choice for novice and experienced developers.

The plugin’s integration with Visual Studio further enhances its usability and workflow efficiency.


While VisualGDB offers a wealth of features, there are a few drawbacks:

  • Cost: VisualGDB is a commercial product, and its licensing fees may be prohibitive for some developers.
  • Learning Curve: The plugin offers a steep learning curve for developers unfamiliar with Visual Studio and ESP32 development concepts.
  • Limited Community: VisualGDB’s community is smaller than some open-source IDEs, limiting the availability of support resources.


VisualGDB is a valuable tool for ESP32 development, providing a comprehensive set of features that simplify the development process and enhance productivity.

Its ease of use, integration with Visual Studio, and ESP32-specific features make it an appealing choice for developers of all levels.


Hi, my name is Stephen Finchett. I have been a software engineer for over 30 years and worked on complex, business critical, multi-user systems for all of my career. For the last 15 years, I have been concentrating on web based solutions using the Microsoft Stack including ASP.Net, C#, TypeScript, SQL Server and running everything at scale within Kubernetes.