C# is a widely used programming language in enterprises, especially for those that are heavily Microsoft-dependent. This language comprises a lot of tools with individual strengths. Here, we list C# tools for IDEs, profilers, automation tools, and more.
If you build apps using C#, you most likely use Visual Studio and have explored some of its extensions to supercharge your development. However, this list of C# tools might just change the way you write C# code for good.
Best tools for C# programming in the following categories:
- VS Extensions
- Compilers, Editors & Serializers
- Decompilers & Code Conversion Tools
- Build Automation & Merge Tools
- Version Control
- Testing Tools & VS Extensions
- Deployment Automation
Visual Studio Code is the most popular code editor for C# development. You can use Visual Studio Code with the C# extension for powerful editing, plus full support for C# IntelliSense and debugging.
- Excellent auto-complete with context-aware suggestions
- Built-in Git integration for better version control
- Huge list of extensions to further enhance the platform
- Supports Mac, Linux, Windows, etc
- Easily works with Software Configuration Management providers
- Easily runs on Node JS
Developed by Xamarin, MonoDevelop has many similar features as VS Code and also supports cross-platform development. With MonoDevelop, you can quickly write desktop and web applications on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
- Standard features like code completion and debugging
- Also ships with Unity, a game engine, which enables advanced C# programming for apps like video games
- Code completion support for C#
- Code templates and code folding
- Supports multiple languages
Rider is a cross-platform .NET IDE tool from the comprehensive JetBrains suite of products. The tool works perfectly on the IntelliJ platform and ReSharper.
- Integrates seamlessly with other JetBrains products
- 2000+ code checks
- Hundreds of context actions and refactoring
- Support for the Unity game engine
- Supports both .NET Framework and .NET Core
- Allows developer to split editor either horizontally or vertically
- Supports Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms
Visual Studio Extensions
Provided by Microsoft, this is a great extension to quicken development with Visual Studio.
- Middle-click scrolling
- Solution error visualizer
- Intuitive interface
- Other versions are available for older Visual Studio versions
A productivity extension that simplifies coding with the popular jQuery framework, jQuery code snippets offer more than 130 snippets for Visual Studio 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017.
- 130+ jQuery code snippets
- Support for all versions of Visual Studio
- Great for novice jQuery developers who can learn the ropes using this extension
CodeMaid is an open source VS extension that can help you clean up and simplify code in a variety of supported languages in addition to C#.
- Gets rid of unnecessary characters like white space from your code
- Reorganizes your code
- Navigates code quickly using a tree view hierarchy
- Supports multiple languages
- Comment formatting
Make your C# code easier to read and fix common errors with Refactoring Essentials, a VS extension with built-in code converters for C# and VB.
- Fixes common typos and coding errors
- Finds every style mismatch across your codebase
- Open source code so you can extend or improve it for your purposes
Compilers, Editors & Serializers
SlickEdit is a code editing tool that can boost productivity and improve the quality of your code. It’s a cross-platform code editor that supports more than 60 languages (including C#) on nine platforms.
- Compiles and debugs your code showing all errors for quick access
- Handles very large files of code, as big as 2 TB
- Syntax expansion and indenting
- Keystroke emulations
- Backup history
- Multiple cursors and selections
- Standard and Pro editions available to accommodate your needs
- Develop for Raspberry Pi, macOS, Linux & Windows
Rextester (which stands for Regular Expression Tester) is a simple online compiler for C#.
- 5 seconds of CPU time per each piece of code
- 150 MB of memory for each piece of code
- Code runs in an appdomain with basic execution, reflection, thread control, and web privileges only
11. C# Pad
C# Pad is a handy REPL C# tool. It’s easy to use: simply enter your code and click “Go” to evaluate it.
- Quickly tests C# code online
- Includes code completion
- Can be embedded on other websites
Another lightweight code compiler, Jdoodle supports 63 languages (including C#) and allows you to save your programs and share them with others through a URL. You can embed code created in Jdoodle to your website, use it for collaboration, online interviews, and more.
- Quickly tests small pieces of code online without having to open the IDE
- Easy to share your code with others
- Compiles and executes programs via APIs
13. .NET Fiddle
.NET Fiddle is a popular fiddle tool for C# that comes from an inspiration of JSFiddle.net and is meant for quick, simple code testing without the need to open Visual Studio and create a new project.
- Lets you write, save, and collaborate on C# code
- Supports 4 project types: Console, Script, MVC, Nancy
- Also, supports VB.NET and F#
14. Telerik Fiddler
Telerik Fiddler lets you execute code online and offers a range of functionality, including web debugging, web session manipulation, performance testing, security testing, and more.
- Runs a series of performance, web debugging, and security tests
- FiddlerCore lets you embed the Fiddler app into your own application so you can avoid the entire Fiddler UI, and still get all the functions of Fiddler
You might also want to compare Fiddler with Charles as another alternative.
Json.NET is a popular JSON framework for .NET that runs on Windows, Windows Store, Windows Phone, Mono, and Xamarin and enables developers to create, parse, query, and modify JSON, convert between XML and JSON, and more.
- Serialize and deserialize .NET objects
- Query JSON databases
- Create, parse, query, and modify JSON with JObject, JArray and JValue objects
- Open source
A simple online editor to write and execute C# code, Scriptcs is designed with simplicity in mind to avoid hindering your productivity with overly complex tools and solutions.
- Avoids the bloat of a full-blown IDE
- Gives you flexibility and speed for simple C# coding tasks
- Manages dependencies with NuGet
- Relaxed C# scripting syntax
Decompilers & Code Conversion Tools
A free, standalone tool offered by JetBrains, dotPeek is based on ReSharper’s bundled decompiler that lets you decompile .NET assemblies into C#.
- Powerful search and navigation features
- Decompiles any .NET assembly into equivalent C# or IL code
- Supports multiple formats (.dll, .exe, .winmd)
- Saves decompiled assemblies as Visual Studio projects
An open source decompiler based on Red Gate’s .NET Reflector, which was discontinued in 2011, Ilspy requires .NET Framework 4.0.
- Browse and decompile assemblies to C#
- Saves an assembly as a C# project
- Intuitive search and navigation features
- Navigation history
- Supports C# 5.0 “async”
- Decompilation to VB and C#
A capable decompiler from Telerik, JustDecompile is a free, open source decompilation engine.
- Extensible with an open API
- Fast code navigation
- Easily switch between methods and assemblies in tabs
- Bookmark usages in loaded assemblies
- Creates a Visual Studio project from a decompiled assembly
- Visual Studio extension for decompiling within VS projects
Telerik Code Converter converts VB code to C# and vice versa. A simple, yet powerful tool, Telerik Code Converter is easy to use with an intuitive, straightforward interface.
- Cloud-based conversion that’s quick and hassle-free
- Uses NRefactory library for complex code conversions
- Built with Telerik UI for ASP.NET AJAX
Build Automation & Merge Tools
21. Cake Build
Cake (C# Make) is a C# version of the open source Make build automation tool. A cross-platform build automation system, Cake uses a C# DSL for tasks such as compiling code, running unit tests, copying files and folders, compressing files, and building NuGet packages.
- Available on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X
- Built to behave in the same way as other CI systems
- Supports build tools including MSBuild, MSTest, xUnit, NUnit, NuGet, ILMerge, WiX, and SignTool
- Very extensible
Microsoft launched MSBuild in 2008. It’s not part of the Visual Studio platform, but it’s a good resource for your C# development toolkit for certain use cases, such as building code projects apart from a solution.
- Coming from Microsoft, it was widely used by many MS shops
- Microsoft has baked it into Visual Studio ensuring it doesn’t get orphaned
- Build multiple projects and multiple configurations for multiple platforms
- Build Win32, x86, x64, or any CPU platforms
FinalBuilder is an excellent commercial option for a build automation tool. With FinalBuilder, you don’t need to edit XML or write scripts to automate your build process.
- Makes builds easy by including visual debugging
- Visually defines and debugs your build scripts
- Schedules scripts with Windows scheduler
- Integrates with Continua CI, Jenkins, or any other CI Server
SemanticMerge understands your code and is designed to handle code that has been moved or modified, making it a powerful tool for team collaboration.
- Enables collaboration and a distributed approach to development
- Starts with structural merge, then moves to more specific text based merge when conflicts occur
- Merges based on structure rather than location
- Deals with language-specific conflicts
- Avoids incorrectly identified automatic merges
- Maintains cleaner code and understands changes
Git really needs no introduction. It’s a free, open source version control system, and the most popular version control system used today.
- Modern version control tool for today’s geographically distributed teams
- Includes strong defaults for conflict resolution, auto recovery, and more
- Inexpensive local branching
- Convenient staging areas
- Multiple workflows
TF Version Control is Microsoft’s alternative to Git, well integrated into Visual Studio, and enterprise-ready, so it’s a good choice for teams of any size working with VS projects.
- Leverages Visual Studio features to provide a native experience
- Tracks code changes across branches
- Provides feedback before code is checked in
- Integrates with the most popular tools for CI and build automation
BitBucket is a capable version control tool and Jira’s alternative to Git, with many third parties proclaiming it, “the only collaborative Git solution that massively scales.”
- Collaborate faster with inline commenting options
- Host it yourself as the code is open sourced, or let Jira manage it for you
- Pull requests allow for more efficient code review approvals
- Uninterrupted access with BitBucket Data Center
- Unlimited private repositories
SourceTree is another Jira offering, a free Git client for Windows and Mac, with a simple Git GUI for managing your repositories.
- Supports Windows and Mac
- Visually interacts with your repositories
- Simplifies distributed version control
- Simple enough for beginners; powerful enough for experts
- Supports Git LFS
Testing Tools & VS Extensions
A tool to instantly test code snippets in C#, F#, and VB, LINQPad lets you query databases interactively.
- Has its own query language LINQ, which is a powerful way to query databases quickly
- Great for learning C# as it gives you many of the features of an IDE without the bloat
- Query databases in LINQ, SQL/CE/Azure, Oracle, SQLite, and MySQL
- Rich output formatting
- Script and automate in your preferred .NET language
Selenium is one of the most popular testing tools available today. It automates web browsers so you can run tests at scale with precision.
- Automates boring web-based administration tasks
- Creates robust regression automation suites and tests
- Scales and distributes scripts across environments
- Build your own Selenium server or use a vendor-provided, hosted option
JetBrains’ ReSharper is a Visual Studio extension for .NET developers for analyzing code quality on the fly, eliminating errors, safely changing the code base, and more.
- Provides on-the-fly code analysis
- Quick fixes for errors
- Assists with complex refactoring
- Multiple code-editing helpers
OzCode is a Visual Studio extension for C# offering powerful debugging tools, so you can spend more time developing and less time debugging.
- Easily find and fix bugs right within Visual Studio
- Works great with ReSharper
- Figures out complex expressions with Magic Glance
- Powerful search, reveal, and compare features
CodeRush is a VS extension that helps you find and fix issues easily, like several other testing tools in this section.
- Visually highlights problems across the codebase and helps you spot issues quickly
- Quickly creates new tests and test suites with shortcuts
- Easy refactoring
A lightweight developer tool for .NET, Java, PHP, Node.js, Ruby, and Python, Prefix shows you logs, errors, queries, and more in real-time. It works within your existing workstation, and is free.
- Provides a detailed trace of every web request
- No messy config or code changes
- Instant download; get immediate code insights
- View logs by request
- Find hidden exceptions
- View SQL queries
- Quickly pinpoint suspicious behavior
JetBrains’ dotTrace is a profiler that helps troubleshoot performance issues and speed up applications.
- Understand how SQL queries and HTTP requests affect application performance
- View line-by-line profiling data and get specific performance metrics
- Gets data on calls execution time
- Profiles SQL queries, HTTP requests, static methods and unit tests
- Profiles and visualizes results within Visual Studio
ANTS Performance Profiler is a profiling tool for .NET code, including C#, that provides line-by-line profiling statistics.
- View performance data for SQL queries and HTTP requests
- Provides line-by-line results
- Shows historic performance over time
- Provides insight into long-term performance
37. N Profiler
A fast, accurate performance profiler, N Profiler provides rich .NET performance data to save you up to 90% of optimization time.
- Find out if database queries, or long I/O times are causing performance issues
- Organize performance metrics are in a Call Tree and viewed at the overview or details level
Retrace is the only developer tool that combines APM, logs, errors, metrics, and monitoring in a single platform to help you build better applications. Designed for production and pre-production servers, Retrace starts at just $10 per month.
- Collects performance data at the code level
- Performs application and server logging
- Provides application metrics from a variety of sources
- Delivers error tracking and monitoring
- Works out of the box with your existing stack
- Free Trial
The leading deployment automation tool for C#, Octopus takes the reins where your CI tool ends, making it possible to automate complex application deployments.
- Provision and configure new machines to deploy your app
- Integrates with CI servers to extend build automation and CI processes into deployment
- Promotes releases between environments
- Repeatable, reliable deployments
A CI build server that takes care of not just builds, but deployments too, Appveyor is robust, secure, and requires no setup to get started.
- End-to-end solution for builds, testing, and deployment
- Easy to use and requires no setup
- Isolated build environments
- Developer-friendly build configs using UI or YAML
- Built-in deployment and NuGet server
- Multi-branch builds
AppHarbor does more than deployment: it’s a fully-hosted .NET Platform-as-a-Service used to host everything from personal blogs to high-traffic web apps.
- Takes code from a source code repository and deploys it on its own hosted platform
- Instantly deploys and scales .NET applications using your favorite versioning tool
- Don’t worry about scaling your infrastructure to keep up with load, AppHarbor takes care of it all for you
More than a deployment automation tool, Jenkins is the most popular CI server that’s extending its reach to the deployment and delivery phases as well.
- Rich collection of extensions to suit every stack
- End-to-end solution from build to deployment
- Hundreds of plugins to support building, deployment, and automation
Docker.DotNet is a C# client library for the Docker API. With it, you can interact with the Docker Remote API programmatically.
- Can be installed via the NuGet library manager for Visual Studio
- Enables fully asynchronous, non-blocking, object oriented code in .NET
A powerful tool to containerize C# applications, Distelli helps you automate your container workflow from end to end. See this helpful tutorial for how to build and deploy a C# application with Distelli. This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions for building and deploying a Docker C# application.
- Automates your container workflow end-to-end
- Deploys to Kubernetes for state-of-the-art container orchestration
We hope you’ve found a tool or two that you can put to use today and improve the quality and productivity of your C# development. Let us know if there’s any tool we missed out on that deserves a spot in our Ultimate List of C# Tools.
Choose the Best C# Tool for Your Application
All the C# tools above are tried and tested by a lot of developers.
What’s important is that you choose a tool that you can trust and rely on for developing a robust application. To ensure that your app is running smoothly, you need a reliable Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tool that can help you write better code and deploy applications with fewer backfires. Try out Stackify by Netreo’s FREE code profiler, Prefix, and be amazed at how it can help strengthen the code you develop and applications you create!
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