Currently, MSDN Germany arranges a blog-parade and is asking developers to disclose their top-3 development tools. I will follow this request, so here are my current top 3 development tools, that make the developer’s life really easier. They are to see in addition to Visual Studio 2008. VS is a really wonderful tool and I do not want to miss Intellisense, TFS integration debugging support anymore. But it’s not perfect and here those tools come on stage:
- Jetbrains ReSharper:
I just started with this brilliant tool and from the first moment on I loved this beautiful piece of software. ReSharper is a Visual Studio plugin, that helps you on managing, refactoring and navigating your code more easily. Visual Studio has a lack of functionality in these areas and ReSharper bridges the gap here. Some examples: if you are heavily using interfaces, you will have pain when navigating through your code with Visual Studio alone, because by pressing F12 you will only come to the interfaces, but not to the implementations. With Resharper you can press Ctrl+Alt+B and come to the direct implementation, if there is just one. If there are more, you will have the choice to navigate to one of them. Other nevigation features include: go to declaration, implementation, inheritors, find usages, … – it really increases productivity! Another example are the great refactorings. Visual Studio has to hide in shame in comparison. One remark: CodeRush Xpress is another nice refactoring tool, which supports you on code navigation, too. It’s kind of limited in the free Xpress edition, but it’s always nice to have, if there’s no chance for the ReSharper.
- NDepend Pro:
As another great tool, NDepend helps you in analyzing your code or existing code bases from other developers. It shows you dependencies between solution projects and creates default queries on the code, while supporting many popular code metrics. NDepend can be run on projects without Visual Studio, but also smoothly integrates into VS context menus. Furthermore, you are able to freely define your own code queries, for example to find all classes, that have more than a certain number of lines or methods, that have a high degree on cyclomatic complexity. By supporting the CQL (code query language), such queries are very flexible and quickly created.
Document your code! Many programmers and even developers have problems with this demand. GhostDoc supports you in this task. It integrates into Visual Studio and if you press Shit+Ctrl+D on any piece of code, you get a documentation template, that’s created automatically by use of the component’s name and the data type (or return type). In some cases this default documentation is sufficient, but mostly you have to adapt it. GhostDoc helps you in giving you a template, but for documenting what your code does you are responsible on your own! Don’t rely on automatic docu, since this isn’t doing the job alone. Additionally, GhostDoc can assist you on changes of your code. If you change the signature of an earlier documented method, GhostDoc can look on the changes and include new parameters to the docu respectively delete old ones. I don’t wanna miss this brilliant tool and the best: it’s for free!
That’s it from my view. I really missed more tools like .NET Reflector, but those are just my top-3. I’m agog: what are your top-tools in development and why?