RedGate recently announced that from the next version of Reflector (v7), they will charge $35 for a licence. Since the announcement a few weeks ago, there has been quite a backlash against the decision from the .Net community, mainly because RedGate have put a time-bomb in the currently free version so that it will expire at the end of May 2011.
In response to this announcement, several alternatives to Reflector have surfaced - some free, some commercial. The list below outlines all of the alternatives, some of which have been around for many years.
- JetBrains ReSharper [commercial + free]
Within a day of the announcement, JetBrains put out a teaser suggesting that a decompiler was in the works. Two weeks later, they announced that the next version of ReSharper will have an integrated decompiler akin to reflector, along with a free standalone version to be released later in the year.
- Telerik JustCode [commercial]
Just as JetBrains put out a teaser, Telerik followed suit and showed a decompilation feature that will be in the next version of their JustCode tool.
- ldasm [free]
This tool comes bundled with the Windows SDK Tools (that get installed as part of Visual Studio). It is purely an IL disassembler, and so cannot decompile to C#.
- ILSpy [free]
The team behind SharpDevelop have been working hard on ILSpy and have already released a major milestone of v1 of their decompiler. It can decompile to C#.
- Cecil Studio [free]
This is a Windows forms UI based on the Mono Cecil library. It has already been around for a few years.
- MonoReflector [free]
This is a WPF UI based on the Mono Cecil library.
- MonoDevelop Assembly Browser [free]
Released for the first time in version 2.0 of MonoDevelop (currently at v2.4.2).
- Salamander .Net Decompiler [commercial]
This is part of a larger tool called .Net Explorer.
- Dis# [commercial]
This tool has been around for a while, but is not often mentioned. It is not as polished as Reflector and does not support never versions of .Net, but has some nice features not seen anywhere else. Once such feature is to rename the decompiled variables within the tool to give them a more meaningful name.
- Spices .Net Decompiler [commercial]
As well as decompiling to IL, C#, J#, C++ and Delphi.Net, this tool has a feature to build code flow diagrams from the decompiled source to show the execution flow.
- Decompiler.NET [commercial]
This is s decompiler combined with an obfuscator, language translator and refactoring tool that integrates with Visual Studio.
- Keep Decompiling Free
This website popped up recently with nothing more than a teaser to get more information when it is available.
- RedGate Reflector [commercial]
Of course, there is still the current king of them all, albeit in a now charged-for format. Still well worth the $35.
Which of these will turn out to be the best/most successful to take Reflector’s throne is yet to play out, but there seems to be a healthy interest from both the community and commercial aspects in making a replacement.
March 2nd, 2011
I have ReSharper installed and think it is a great tool for productivity, but occasionally I find it useful to temporarily disable it to speed up Visual Studio (especially so on my old slow laptop). This is achieved in two different ways, depending on the version of ReSharper.
In versions prior to version 5, ReSharper appears in the Add-in Manager dialog, accessed via the Tools menu. Using this dialog, you can uncheck the ReSharper add-in which will suspend it (the menu will still be visible, but its functionality will be disabled).
Checking it again will re-enable it. Both of these actions can be performed without restarting Visual Studio.
In version 5, ReSharper no longer appears in the add-ins dialog. At first glance, I though the ability to disable ReSharper was no longer available. As it turns out, it is now part of ReSharper itself and is accessed via the Tools -> Options -> ReSharper -> General dialog. Clicking the suspend button will suspend ReSharper and disable its functionality. Once suspended, clicking the resume button will re-enable it.
This applies to all versions of Visual Studio - the difference is based on the version of ReSharper only.
June 10th, 2010
A few years ago, I posted about how to extract the contents of an MSI file without having to go through the process of installing it. The tool used to do this was called Less MSIèrables. This tool does do the job, but the UI is a bit clunky to use, it has a few bugs, and occasionally fails to extract the contents of a file. On top of this, it looks like this tool is not actively developed (it was last updated in 2005), so I recently started to look for an alternative.
It turns out that Microsoft provide this functionality as part of MSIExec that comes as part of the Windows installer. To extract the contents of any MSI file, simply run the following:
msiexec.exe /a installer.msi /qb TARGETDIR=C:\temp
This will extract the complete contents of the MSI file to the specified directory.
October 29th, 2009
Following on from my last post on the MDSN Low Bandwidth View, Scott Hanselman recently tweeted about the beta version of MDSN Lightweight View.
In a similar way to adding (loband) before the .aspx part of the url, putting (lightweight) before the .aspx part of the url will use the new lightweight view of MSDN, meaning a much neater and streamlined version.
In addition, Scott has previously posted about the other modes of MSDN:
||The normal MSDN view.
||A minimal view, focussed on speed.
||A faster lightweight view, including quick links to switch between languages and .Net framework versions.
||Aimed at PDAs and phones. Turns off the tree and allows a 100% width.
||Optimised for search engines.
||A printable version.
||Used when viewing inside the IDE. Adds send and give feedback links.
Note that the dev10ide view Scott mentions seems to have been removed, and that the lightweight view is currently in beta, so may be liable to change.
July 7th, 2009