by Andreas

Visual Studio 2010 – alternatives to ReSharper

imageJetBrains ReSharper is without a doubt an extremely powerful tool for developers. If you’ve never heard about it or given it a go, I strongly recommend you go ahead and try it out.

That said, there are two camps when it comes to ReSharper: the lovers and the haters. The lovers have become so dependent on it that they claim “Visual Studio feels broken without it” (a quote from my colleague). The haters will spend time out of their day to slam it because it’s not true to “old school programming” and simply does too much for you. Not surprisingly, a lot of them (including me) started their programming careers back when C++ was considered state of the art and intellisense was a word only used by dyslexics.

When I first tried it a few years ago I ended up in the haters camp, although not spending time telling others that they should hate it too. And I have to admit after recently giving it another go with their latest release (which at the time of writing is ReSharper 7) I’m still not entirely convinced. I find it to be just too much, too visually noisy, too “let me do this automatically for you” – simply too annoying. Which sucks, because after installing it I ended up turning off one great feature after another until I was left with some simple code editor improvements, the HTML and Javascript editor improvements and their absolutely brilliant lambda expression converter.

Anyway, the aim of this post is to suggest an alternative for the ones of us that find ReSharper to be too intrusive. The Visual Studio Gallery is a great place to start, and you will find a great selection of plugins that offer you single, isolated features rather than a massive package containing 95% of stuff you simply don’t want. As an example, check these two out:

Productivity Power Tools
http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/d0d33361-18e2-46c0-8ff2-4adea1e34fef

JScript Editor Extensions:
http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/872d27ee-38c7-4a97-98dc-0d8a431cc2ed

There are also quite a few plugins for the (at the time of writing) new Visual Studio 2012, and more are added every week.