Category Archives: Community

A little support for open source projects

We’ve been thinking a bit about open source software lately at Red Gate. Supporting the Glimpse project has really helped keep it in our minds, especially with Nik and Anthony in the building, banging the OSS drum.

A couple of weeks ago, at NDC Oslo, Nik presented a session on getting up and running with open source development. He talked about the challenges and pitfalls, and gave some good, solid advice for starting and maintaining OSS projects. The video’s here, if you’re interested.

As part of his the talk, Nik and Anthony launched OSS Zero to Sixty, a set of resources to help get open source projects started, and OSS Perks, a directory of tools and services that are free for open source development.

We’re going to list .NET Reflector on there, along with a few other Red Gate tools.

If you’re working on an open source project, we’re happy to offer free licenses of:

If you get in touch (, for .NET Reflector inquiries) and tell us a bit about what you’re doing, we’ll sort you out with a free license.

Open source on .NET doesn’t feel like it’s really taken off in the same way as other platforms. That can’t all be about tooling, but tooling is an area where we can help out a bit. It’s an extension of the idea behind OSS Perks, really – hopefully making some of the industry standard development tools available will help the .NET OSS crowd get going.

Oh, and if you’re interested in getting more involved in OSS, Glimpse is always looking for contributers, and Nik and Anthony are speaking at Monkeyspace this week.

Guest post: Using .NET Reflector to understand and debug Visual Studio assemblies

Carlos Quintero (MVP, and developer of MZ-Tools) recently wrote a blog post on debugging into Visual Studio’s assemblies. We liked it, and asked him to tell us a bit more…

Using .NET Reflector to understand and debug Visual Studio assemblies

As a developer of Visual Studio add-ins, I have been using .NET Reflector to understand the internals of Visual Studio assemblies since many years ago, and I consider it an invaluable tool for developers of Visual Studio extensions (add-ins, packages, etc.). In this guest post I will explain why.

Developing a somewhat complex Visual Studio extension, there are two scenarios where you may desire to have the Visual Studio source code and even to debug its assemblies:

  • To understand how Visual Studio does some kind of things, because you need to do the same or similar ones in your own extension.
  • To guess which code path inside a method is actually used at run-time. I mean: you may have the source code of a Visual Studio assembly with some complex logic, and it is difficult to guess which branches are actually executed for certain cases.

Microsoft has released the source code of the .NET Framework and you can even debug its assemblies, but it hasn't done the same with Visual Studio assemblies. This is where. NET Reflector comes to the rescue. You can use .NET Reflector for those two scenarios. I’ll illustrate this with a real case…

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Guest post: .NET SmokeTest for Reflector

This is a guest post from Wesley Steiner, the author of .NET SmokeTest, explaining his app, and how it works with Reflector.

What is .NET SmokeTest?

.net SmokeTest is a Windows application that presents an interactive interface into any .net Assembly allowing you to smoke-test an API via reflection. You can call any member without ever writing a single line code. An indispensible tool for anyone involved in developing, testing and managing software products for Windows.

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How .NET Reflector saved me hours of work

Take a free trial and find bugs in 3rd party components, libraries, frameworks, and any code where you don’t have the source.

A little while ago, I got an email from Ben, who’d been using .NET Reflector. We’d asked how his trial was going, and he told us about how Reflector let him drill down to a problem in 3rd party code in no time at all. It’s great to learn more about how the tool is being used, so we invited Ben to give us a little more detail:

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Grab a free copy of “Under the hood of .NET Memory Management”

If you’ve ever wondered about .NET memory management, or had to get into the guts of your code to track down a memory leak, or wanted to make sure that your code performs as fast as possible, and with a small memory footprint, then I’ve got a book you should read. At the risk of being biased, it’s a book which I edited, and took from concept to print.

'Under The Hood of .NET Memory Management', by Chris Farrell and Nick Harrison

More to the point, it’s an eBook which is currently free to download: “Under the hood of .NET memory Management” by Chris Farrell and Nick Harrison. The book normally retails on Amazon for about $22, but you can download it for free (split into two parts) from the Red Gate website.
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Assembly Diff Algorithms – it’s all in the details

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Sean Hederman wrote an add-in for Reflector called Reflector.Diff. It was originally created to help him dive into code differences between Framework versions, but he figured it could also work nicely for people who wanted to diff their own assemblies.

Screenshot of the old Reflector.Diff

We got in touch with Sean, and he gave us some more details into how he developed the Algorithm and UI in Reflector.Diff 2
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Peli’s Classics – Reflector Addin Bundle

Just before Christmas, I had an opportunity to talk to the inestimable Peli de Halleux, Microsoft researcher &, with support from Lutz, a prolific author of .NET Reflector addins. If you’ve not had the opportunity to read his blog, you should – he doesn’t post often, but when he does, it’s worth a look.

I’m very pleased to announce that many of Peli’s classic add-ins are now available from our .NET Reflector add-in showcase in one handy, productivity bundle.
Peli's Classic Bundle

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Freshly baked: .NET Reflector v7.5 EAP Build 2

In our previous sprint, we brought the Reflector Object Browser (ROB) into Visual Studio. Yesterday we shipped the 2nd Early Access build of .NET Reflector v7.5, and the ROB now has some bite to go with its bark!

I’ll keep this brief, because there are only really a handful of points which are interesting, and we’d love to get some feedback on the latest work. The main thing is that the VS addin now tracks the loaded project(s) references, and shows them in the ROB. Adding a reference (see below) adds that assembly to the ROB.

Adding a reference in Visual Studio

(Click for an enlarged view)

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Dedicated Early Access Feedback Forum

By now, you should have heard about our Early Access Programme. Now that we’re releasing rapid and regular early access builds, it’s time we gave you a better feedback channel. As a first step, we’ve created a UserVoice forum dedicated to EAP feedback, and we’d really appreciate hearing anything you’ve got to say about the new builds and new features. We’ll also use it to let you know when we’re working on your suggestions, and keep you up-to-date on our plans.

Be the first to see what the future holds for .NET Reflector
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