So we’ve been talking about .NET Reflector add-ins for the last few days, but we’ve not really talked about those “Reflector-aware tools” I mentioned earlier. Let’s fix that now:
Reflector-aware tools are similar to add-ins in that they also make use of the .NET Reflector API – the different is that Reflector plugs into them, rather than the other way around. They use Reflector (when they find it on your system) to provide powerful disassembly alongside their own suite of impressive functionality.
What’s in the toolbox?
There is almost certainly something in these tools that you’ll find useful. Some are great for anyone writing .NET code, such as Patrick Smacchia’s NDepend (which has so much Code Metric goodness it’s hard to overstate). Others are only useful in certain circumstances, like Koen Zwistra’s Silverlight Spy (unsurprisingly, a great way to really get to grips with your Silverlight) or Joe Albahari’s LINQPad (a LINQ-based querying utility and general .NET scratchpad). No matter what kind of development you do, we strongly recommend you check these tools out.
Although there are fewer tools than add-ins, the tools are comprehensive and there are still quite a few out there. To get the most out of them, you just need to make sure you have a working copy of .NET Reflector on the same machine.
We’re planning on featuring some guest posts from the authors of these tools, with some more insight into what makes them tick (the tools, and maybe even the developers themselves), and what goes into building a Reflector-aware tool.
Of course, if you think we’ve missed a really good tool, recommend it to us & we’ll take a look. And just because we’re curious, where would you find decompilation and disassembly particularly useful? What tools or add-ins would you really love to see?