Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Making SharpDevelop compile and debug Boo programs on a 64-bit machine

Recently I've started looking at Boo. As of now the only decent development tool for Boo is SharpDevelop. BooLangStudio, a Visual Studio plugin, recently came out in an alpha release. However, at the moment it's way too immature. Back to SharpDevelop... I'm running a 64-bit version of Vista which resulted in some problems compiling and debugging Boo programs. Since the compiler (booc.exe) is marked to run on AnyCPU it will start as a 64-bit process. SharpDevelop runs as 32-bit only. Therefore it will use the 32-bit version of MSBuild which in turn picks up a 32-bit version of System.dll and passes this version too booc.exe. Unfortunately this means that the 64-bit booc.exe process will crash when it tries to load the 32-bit System.dll. A solution to this is to use CorFlags to mark booc.exe as 32-bit only. However, this breaks the strong name so you'll have to resign it. Do the following:
  1. Open Visual Studio Command Prompt and run CorFlags "path\SharpDevelop\3.0\AddIns\AddIns\BackendBindings\BooBinding\booc.exe" /32BIT+ /Force.
  2. Download boo.snk from Still in VS Command Prompt run sn -R "path\SharpDevelop\3.0\AddIns\AddIns\BackendBindings\BooBinding\booc.exe" "path\boo.snk".
You can now build your Boo programs!! A new problem suddenly arises when you try to debug your program. The debugger crashes because your program is compiled to run on AnyCPU. So the 32-bit only compatible debugger will launch a 64-bit program and crash. SharpDevelop suggests that you set the target cpu of your program to 32-bit. This is not possible to do; The only option is AnyCPU. So we'll have to hack some more:
  • Open the property page of your project and go to the Build Events tab. In the Post-build event command line text box type "path\Microsoft.NET\SDK\v2.0 64bit\Bin\CorFlags.exe" "$(TargetPath)" /32BIT+
Now build and debug your program. Voila!!


  1. It doesn't work with my SharpDeveloper 3.0. Is it for SD 2.0 only?