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The Ultimate List of C# Tools: IDEs, Profilers, Automation Tools, and More

  |  March 4, 2024
The Ultimate List of C# Tools: IDEs, Profilers, Automation Tools, and More

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:

Use the links above to jump to tools in a specific section, or keep reading to browse the complete list.


1. Visual Studio


visual studio

Visual Studio is the flagship IDE for C# developerseven though, of course, it also supports other languages in the .NET ecosystem. It’s incredibly powerful, offering a myriad of features while, at the same time, being very approachable for newcomers and veterans alike. Also, Visual Studio is also extensible—through the use of extensions, you can augment its capabilities, tailoring it to your specific needs.

Visual Studio is currently in its 2022 edition, and it comes in three versions:

  • Visual Studio Community: free for open-source development and commercial use for up to 5 developers (in organizations with less than 250 people and which don’t make 1 million dollars of revenue per year.)
  • Visual Studio Professional: paid version for developers
  • Visual Studio Enterprise: paid version with powerful features aimed at architectural concerns

Key Features:

  • Publication of your app to several destinations
  • Easy integration with other developer tools by Microsoft (e.g., MS SQL Server.)
  • Powerful debug capabilities
  • Creation and management of containerized applications
  • Seamless integration with unit test frameworks

As we’ve said, Visual Studio is an excellent choice if you want a powerful IDE for C#. However, it does require a decent machine to run it, and it can feel sluggish at times. What if you prefer a more lightweight alternative?

That brings us to the next item on our list.

2. Visual Studio Code


Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code isn’t technically a C# IDE—or even an IDE, for that matter. Rather, Visual Studio Code (or simply VS Code) is an incredibly popular code editor you can use with pretty much any of the major programming languages. VS Code supports plenty of languages through the usage of plugins and extensions. You can use Visual Studio Code with the C# extension for powerful editing, plus full support for C# IntelliSense and debugging.

Key Features:

  • 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

3. MonoDevelop

Mono Develop

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.

Key Features:

  • 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

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4. Rider



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.

Key Features:

  • 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
  • Built-in support with TypeScript, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Sass 
  • Supports Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms

Visual Studio Extensions

5. SonarLint



SonarLint is an extension that brings the power of the SonarQube analyzer to your IDE. With SonarLint, you can validate your code against many different rules regarding code formatting, bugs, security vulnerabilities, code smells, and more.

Key features:

  • Real-time feedback
  • Contextual assistance to solve issues
  • Support for many programming languages
  • Comprehensive ruleset (more than 5000 rules) covering many different aspects of code

6. Productivity Power Tools 2022


Productivity Power Tools

Provided by Microsoft, this is a great extension to quicken development with Visual Studio.

Key Features:

  • Middle-click scrolling
  • QuickFind
  • Solution error visualizer
  • Intuitive interface
  • Other versions are available for older Visual Studio versions

7. CodeMaid



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#.

Key Features:

  • 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

8. Refactoring Essentials


Refactoring Essentials

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.

Key Features:

  • 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

Miscellaneous Tools

9. SlickEdit



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.

Key Features:

  • 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

10. Rextester


Rextester (which stands for Regular Expression Tester) is a simple online compiler for C#.

Key Features:

  • 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. Jdoodle



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.

Key Features:

  • 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

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12. .NET Fiddle



.NET Fiddle is a popular fiddle tool for C# that comes from an inspiration of and is meant for quick, simple code testing without the need to open Visual Studio and create a new project.

Key Features:

  • Lets you write, save, and collaborate on C# code
  • Supports 4 project types: Console, Script, MVC, Nancy
  • Also, supports VB.NET and F#

13. 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.

Key Features:

  • 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.

14. Json.NET


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.

Key Features:

  • Serialize and deserialize .NET objects
  • Query JSON databases
  • Create, parse, query, and modify JSON with JObject, JArray and JValue objects
  • Open source

Decompilers & Code Conversion Tools

15. dotPeek



A free, standalone tool offered by JetBrains, dotPeek is based on ReSharper’s bundled decompiler that lets you decompile .NET assemblies into C#. 

Key Features:

  • 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

16. Ilspy



An open source decompiler based on Red Gate’s .NET Reflector, which was discontinued in 2011, Ilspy requires .NET Framework 4.0.

Key Features:

  • 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#

17. JustDecompile



A capable decompiler from Telerik, JustDecompile is a free, open source decompilation engine.

Key Features:

  • 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

18. Telerik Code Converter


Telerik Code Converter

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.

Key Features:

  • 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

19. 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.

Key Features:

  • 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

20. MSBuild



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.

Key Features:

  • 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

21. FinalBuilder



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.

Key Features:

  • 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

22. SemanticMerge



SemanticMerge understands your code and is designed to handle code that has been moved or modified, making it a powerful tool for team collaboration.

Key Features:

  • 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

Version Control

23. Git


Git really needs no introduction. It’s a free, open source version control system, and the most popular version control system used today.

Key Features:

  • 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

24. Team Foundation Version Control


Team Foundation Version Control

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.

Key Features:

  • 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

25. BitBucket



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.”

Key Features:

  • 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

26. SourceTree



SourceTree is another Jira offering, a free Git client for Windows and Mac, with a simple Git GUI for managing your repositories.

Key Features:

  • 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

27. LINQPad



A tool to instantly test code snippets in C#, F#, and VB, LINQPad lets you query databases interactively.

Key Features:

  • 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

28. Selenium



Selenium is one of the most popular testing tools available today. It automates web browsers so you can run tests at scale with precision.

Key Features:

  • 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

29. ReSharper



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.

Key Features:

  • Provides on-the-fly code analysis
  • Quick fixes for errors
  • Assists with complex refactoring
  • Multiple code-editing helpers

30. OzCode



OzCode is a Visual Studio extension for C# offering powerful debugging tools, so you can spend more time developing and less time debugging.

Key Features:

  • 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

31. CodeRush



CodeRush is a VS extension that helps you find and fix issues easily, like several other testing tools in this section.

Key Features:

  • Visually highlights problems across the codebase and helps you spot issues quickly
  • Quickly creates new tests and test suites with shortcuts
  • Easy refactoring


32. Prefix



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.

Key Features: 

  • 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

33. dotTrace



JetBrains’ dotTrace is a profiler that helps troubleshoot performance issues and speed up applications.

Key Features:

  • 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

34. ANTS Performance Profiler


ANTS Performance Profiler

ANTS Performance Profiler is a profiling tool for .NET code, including C#, that provides line-by-line profiling statistics.

Key Features:

  • 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

35. N Profiler



A fast, accurate performance profiler, N Profiler provides rich .NET performance data to save you up to 90% of optimization time.

Key Features:

  • 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


36. Retrace



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.

Key Features: 

  • 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

Deployment Automation

37. Octopus



The leading deployment automation tool for C#, Octopus takes the reins where your CI tool ends, making it possible to automate complex application deployments.

Key Features:

  • 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

38. Appveyor



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.

Key Features:

  • 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

39. AppHarbor



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.

Key Features:

  • 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

40. Jenkins



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.

Key Features:

  • 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


41. Docker.DotNet



Docker.DotNet is a C# client library for the Docker API. With it, you can interact with the Docker Remote API programmatically.

Key Features:

  • Can be installed via the NuGet library manager for Visual Studio
  • Enables fully asynchronous, non-blocking, object oriented code in .NET

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!

Improve Your Code with Retrace APM

Stackify's APM tools are used by thousands of .NET, Java, PHP, Node.js, Python, & Ruby developers all over the world.
Explore Retrace's product features to learn more.

Learn More

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