Posts filed under 'Tools'

Alternatives To .Net Reflector

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.

9 comments Permalink March 2nd, 2011 Adrian Banks
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Useful Diagnostic Tools

I recently visited a customer site to diagnose some problems with an application deployed on a server. Because I was effectively “visiting blind” in not knowing what was wrong or even if I would have internet access, I had to pre-empt any potential problems and take whatever tools I would need to diagnose them with me.

The following is a list of the tools I took:

  • Active Ports
    This is an equivalent to running netstat -nabv 5 from the command line, but wraps a nice GUI around it with the ability to look up the host names for connected IP addresses.
  • BareTail
    This is a simple log file viewer that can “tail” a running log and apply highlighting based on custom searches.
  • CorFlags
    This is a tool that comes as part of the Visual Studio SDK and enables a .Net application to be forced to run as 32-bit on 64-bit hardware. Existing applications can be tweaked without re-compilation.
  • Culture Launcher
    This is one of my own tools that can launch an .Net application using a different culture/language. The culture and UI culture can be set independently of each other.
  • Error Lookup
    This is a small tool that comes with Visual Studio (when you install the C++ components). It enables Win32 error codes to be translated into “meaningful” English error messages.
  • Managed Stack Explorer
    This is a tool that can preiodically capture stack traces from running .Net applications. It also shows a variety of information about the managed processes and threads running on a machine.
  • Red Gate Diagnostics Tool
    This is a tool from Red Gate that collects lots of system information from a computer. It is very useful because of the amount of data that it collects all in one place.
  • Snippet Compiler
    This is like a cut-down version of Visual Studio. It has an IDE-like editor (with only basic intellisense) and can compile and run .Net applications. The biggest plus is that it requires no installation.
  • SpaceMonger
    This is a tool that gives a visual representation of disk usage for a whole drive. This version is an older version of the tool, but is the last version that is free.
  • SysInternals
    This is the famous SysInternals Suite of tools, now owned by Microsoft, but still occasionally updated with new features and bug fixes. This contains lots of file, disk, network, process, registry and system utilities.

This toolset (along with a few custom-written SQL scripts) provided me with everything I needed to collect all the information I needed to get to the bottom of the problems.

2 comments Permalink July 8th, 2008 Adrian Banks
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