I've been a developer for about 20 years now, and did some C# about 5 years ago.

What Visual Studio plugins would you say I couldn't/shouldn't live without? They could help with:

Language Constructs .Net Framework Generating stub code to speed things up


+23  A: 

JetBrains ReSharper which really enhances the IDE and helps with best practices, refactoring, etc. (It looks like DevExpress CodeRush is another alternative)

RedGate .Net Reflector to help understand the ins and outs of how things are working "behind the scenes".

GhostDoc is nice if you're using XML comments to document your code.

TestDriven.NET is great if you're doing Test Driven Development (or any kind of Unit Testing, really).

And while I haven't used it personally (but plan to try it, now that I found it), MetalScroll looks like a very helpful tool when working with large code files. It replaces the scrollbar with a scroll-able document preview.

Justin Niessner
+10 if it were possible ;)
Martin Klinke
Resharper is beyond essential - while you can develop without it, it makes life a whooooole lot easier when your projects become big.
The DevExpress tools are an excellent (and my preferred) alternative to ReSharper - one or the other of those is essential.
Dan Puzey
i know this isn't a popular opinion, but if you can generate a comment based off of the method name (what ghost doc does), that comment is pure noise, and just gets in the way when reading a code file.
Matt Briggs
@Matt Briggs - You're right. The generated comment text is noise. The point is that it generates all the boilerplate XML so that you don't have to type it all by hand. You're supposed to modify the actual documentation for your need.
Justin Niessner
@justin: i guess its just bad experiences, where people generate comments to satisfy fx cop
Matt Briggs
I liked everything except GhostDoc. Auto-generated comments are no more useful than the code itself, and IMO a waste of time. If you are going to comment...WRITE your comments and make them useful. Don't generate comments that simply reiterate the code itself in a different form...thats just tacky and useless.
@jrista - Matt Briggs made the same comment. See my response.
Justin Niessner
@Justin: I read it...however, I think the "boilerplate" argument is rather thin. With normal VS2008/2010, I simply have to type three whacks (/), and I get all the "boilerplate", like the summary, parameters, etc., generated for me. I am then free to fill in the documentation myself, and make it truly useful. My beef with GhostDoc is that, since it generates the xml elements AND the "documentation", 99% of developers leave the generated documentation, and NEVER fix it. As such, I think GhostDoc is a terrible tool that only aids in cluttering code with thousands of lines of useless comments.
+7  A: 

to make visual studio comparable to other IDEs, you really need either DevExpress CodeRush, or (my personal favorite) JetBrains ReSharper

Matt Briggs
+1 for mentioning CodeRush.
Chris Shouts
pretty much everything devexpress does is great (imo their asp components blow teleriks out of the water) The only reason I prefer resharper is because I have been using JetBrains tooling for most of my career, and at this point their way of doing things is pretty second nature to me.
Matt Briggs
+3  A: 

Power Commands has a lot of very useful features which make using Visual Studio a little easier.

GhostDoc is also great for generating comments in your code.

They're both free.

+1 for mentioning GhostDoc
-1 for mentioning GhostDoc, again. GhostDoc is a repetition-generator, and serves no purpose other than to make it easier for developers to generate worthless documentation that provides no meaningful insight. Documentation isn't simply something that should be filled in to get rid of a should be as meticulously crafted as the code it describes so that it actually provides value to another developer. GhostDoc documentation is simply a reiteration of the code in slightly different form, and violates the DRY principal.
+2  A: 

If you're using VS 2010 Premium or higher, check out the Code Contracts static analyzer. If you use Code Contracts assertions in your code, it will statically analyze your assertions and try to prove whether they are true.

Pex is also extremely interesting (for unit testing), though I haven't played with it enough yet to know how beneficial it will be. I did try running it on a Parse routine for one of my custom value types and its explorations discovered a number of corner cases that I hadn't considered.

Dan Bryant
+1 for PEX. Excellent tool that has started to save me tremendous amounts of time. I highly recommend it.

Jet Brains Resharper and Ankh SVN

Jean-Christophe Fortin

Another suggestion: for 2010, look at this great post from Scott Hanselman: The Best Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tools, Power Commands and Extensions

Gabriel Mongeon
+2  A: 

The obvious resharper and reflector others have mentioned. I have a few dozen, but they're for particular tasks. Some of the more general ones I use:

Pro Power Tools



Tangible T4 Editor

IronPython & IronRuby Console (requires PowerConsole)

Mark H