Top 10 Tools For .NET Developers

Introduction 

 
When working with applications using .NET or .NET Core, you should have few tools with you to boost productivity. This article talks about the top 10 tools every .NET developer must have. From the swath of developer tools available in .NET and .NET Core, I'll pick up the top 10 most popular and important tools.
 
This list of tools includes the following:
  • dotConnect for Oracle
  • Entity Developer
  • NDepend
  • .NET Reflector
  • ReSharper
  • NCrunch
  • SQL Complete
  • Postman
  • Stackify Prefix
  • LINQPad

dotConnect for Oracle

 
dotConnect for Oracle is a high-performance, robust, feature-rich ADO.NET Provider for Oracle. It includes ORM support as well. You can use it without the need of installing Oracle Client Software on your computer. dotConnect for Oracle provides enhanced ORM support via Entity Developer, a popular visual ORM designer. dotConnect for Oracle supports Entity Framework, Entity Framework Core, NHibernate and LinqConnect as well.
 
Here's a quick look at the striking features of dotConnect for Oracle:
  • High-performance
  • The most powerful support for Entity Framework and Entity Framework Core
  • Built-in visual ORM designer
  • Direct access to Oracle
  • Support for new platforms, Oracle database versions, and development technologies as soon as they are released
  • Support for the popular encryption and checksum algorithms
  • SSL/TLS encryption support
  • Support for Windows, Linux, and MacOS
  • Support for the latest versions of .NET Framework, .NET Standard, .NET Core, Mono Framework and .NET Compact Framework
  • Support for Sync Framework
You can download a copy from here.
 

Entity Developer

 
Entity Developer from Devart is a very powerful modeling and code generation tool, an ORM tool to be more precise. ORM is an acronym for Object Relational Mapping tool used for mapping data between incompatible data stores. The entity developer lets you design your data access layer visually and easily. Since the data access layer generated by Devart contains automated and generated code, chances of error are minimal.
 
The official website of Entity Developer states: "Entity Developer can help you design models for various .NET ORMs in one unified interface. You can get support for all
ORMs in one tool, or you may purchase a separate edition, working with one of the supported ORMs." Reference: https://www.devart.com/entitydeveloper/
 
Entity Developer supports ADO.NET Entity Framework, Entity Framework Core, Hibernate, LinqConnect, Telerik Data Access, and LINQ to SQL. To sum up, Entity Developer offers a number of visual design tools and code generation features to help you design ORM models faster and generate professional and extensible code for them.
 

NDepend

 
NDepend is a powerful static code analysis tool that has been in use for quite some time now. It is a Visual Studio extension that is adept at measuring the quality of your application's source code.
 
There are many static code analysis tools, such as FxCop, StyleCop, ReSharper, CodeIt.Right and NDepend, etc.
 
At a quick glance, the benefits of using NDepend includes the following:
  • Improves code maintainability
  • Improves productivity of development teams
  • The team builds better code
  • Measures Code Coverage
  • You can gain control over costs and risks
  • Integrates nicely with Visual Studio
  • Support for CQlinq to customize code analysis
  • Generates trend charts
Scott Hanselman says: "NDepend is giving me insight into my apps that I hadn't had before. Once I realized the depth and breadth of the information I was looking at, I was like a kid in a candy shop." Reference here.
 
If you don't have NDepend installed on your computer, you can download a 14-day trial from here.
 

.NET Reflector

 
.NET Reflector is a popular decompiler, disassembler, and static analyzer for .NET. It is available as a Visual Studio extension as well. If you don't have it installed, you can download a copy from the Visual Studio Marketplace here: https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=vs-publisher-306627.NETReflectorVisualStudioExtension
You can take advantage of .NET Reflector to debug your application to detect the problems. It has the ability to even step into third-party code from Visual Studio. It should be noted that .NET reflector can simplify .NET development by allowing you to debug any code and even simplify SharePoint development as well. It even has a comprehensive add-in model with an API to extend it and adjust it according to your requirements.
 
Incidentally .NET Reflector was been taken over by Red Gate Software in August 2008, the leading provider of software for professionals working on the Microsoft data platform.
 

ReSharper

 
ReSharper from JetBrains is a popular tool that can be used for on-the-fly code analysis and eliminate errors in your application's code. ReSharper can automate some of the common development and refactoring scenarios that would be a time-consuming and daunting task to handle. It is available as a Visual Studio Extension and you can also download a 30-day trial copy from here.
 
ReSharper comes with many features - the most important of them include the following:
  • Support for on the fly code quality analysis
  • Eliminate errors and code smells
  • Code generation
  • Support for an in-built Unit test runner
You can learn more about ReSharper here.
 

NCrunch

 
NCrunch is a great unit testing tool for Visual Studio. It is a live, automated concurrent testing tool to be more precise. NCrunch can collect test coverage for your code and profile your tests – it can run your automated tests while providing you with code coverage information and performance metrics. If you don't have a copy of NCrunch installed on your computer, you can download one from here.
 
Here's the list of the features of NCrunch at a quick glance:
  • Support for Automated Concurrent Testing
  • Code Coverage Analysis
  • Performance Metrics
  • Adept at executing the tests intelligently

SQL Complete

 
SQL Complete is yet another powerful and popular tool from Devart that can boost developer productivity. You can take advantage of SQL Complete to write high-quality SQL code with correct formatting. Available as an add-in for SSMS, you can take advantage of SQL Complete to speed up query writing, format your SQL query, rename tables, columns, procedures, and functions as well as retrieve information on your database objects from within SQL Server Management Studio or Visual Studio.
 
At a quick glance, here's the list of its striking features:
  • T-SQL formatting
  • Code refactoring
  • Productivity extension
  • Context-sensitive suggestion
You can download a copy from here.
 

Postman

 
Postman, an open-source collaboration platform for API development, is one of the most popular Http clients used in the world for designing, developing, and testing APIs. It is an interactive tool and is available as a Desktop client as well as a Chrome extension.
 
Postman comes with different pricing models. It is available in Free, Team, Business, and Enterprise editions. You can take advantage of the Free plan and start designing, developing, and testing your APIs. If you don't have a copy installed on your computer you can download it from here.
 
Some of the striking features of Postman include the following:
  • API Client for testing REST, SOAP and GraphQL APIs
  • Automated Testing
  • Generate API Documentation
  • API Monitoring
If you would like to get started using Postman, you can take a look at their tutorial here.
 

Stackify Prefix

 
Stackify Prefix is a free lightweight desktop profiler for Java and .NET developers. Although Prefix works only on Windows currently, there are plans to support other operating systems in the long run. Prefix can be used to profile .NET and .NET Core applications. You can take advantage of Stackify Prefix to retrieve performance data. As an example, you can take advantage of Stackify Prefix to track the performance of any method in your application. You can see the SQL queries, HTTP calls, logs, and much more!
 
If you don't already have a copy, you can download one from here.
 
If you would like to know how to configure and use Stackify Prefix with .NET applications, you can read the documentation here.
 

LINQPad

 
LINQPad is a light-weight, free, popular tool that can be used for testing queries written in LINQ, C#, F#, or code snippets. You can take advantage of LINQPad to interactively query SQL/Azure, Oracle, Postgres, and MySQL databases. LINQPad provides support for all LINQ APIs such as LINQ to XML, PLINQ, Entity Framework, and LINQ to SQL.
The standard edition of LINQPad is free with no expiry - you can use it forever without the need for any license. If you don't have a copy, you can download a copy of LINQPad from here.
 

Summary

 
The key factors in choosing the right tools you need when developing applications in .NET or .NET Core include application performance, scalability, code quality, code metrics, etc. You might also want to choose a developer tool that can help boost developer productivity or help with testing the application.