Wednesday 27 February 2013

Developer Tools For Visual Studio

As the saying goes, a bad workman blames his tools, but now with Visual Studio it doesn't matter if you're a bad or good workman the tools can't be blamed! Visual Studio is a work class IDE and there are few better. Saying that, there is always room for improvement, and luckily Visual Studio is extensible. Below you will find the Visual Studio extensions and plugins that I think are worth installing to improve your developer experience.


  • The first is a must-install for a developer and it's worth its weight in gold. I'm obviously talking about JetBrains ReSharper; this will increase any developer's productivity. If you're not a fan of ReSharper there are alternatives in DevExpress CodeRush.
  • If you're into TDD, Ncrunch is a fantastic plugin testing tool that runs automated tests so you don't have to, along with giving you code coverage and performance metrics within the IDE. JetBrains dotCover is another fantastic product however Ncrunch just edges it.


  • The number one extension for any web developer is Web Essentials 2012. This includes a number handy extensions including additional intellisense for CSS. This extension is almost a playground for new features; recently a number of Web Essentials features got promoted into Visual Studio via the ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2 update.
  • If you use Visual Studio 2010 you need to use the original Web Essentials.
  • For a whole load more functionality for Visual Studio you need to install the Productivity Power Tools 2012. If you use VS2010 you need the original Productivity Power Tools.
  • Are you a VIM user? If so VsVim is for you, this is Vim within the Visual Studio IDE.
  • MultiEditing is a fantastic tool for simultaneously editing more than one location at once.
Above is just a small selection of plugins and extension that are available; these are just the ones I find particularly useful. Most of these extensions are free so try them and see if they do help you improve. If you think I've missed an amazing plugin or extension from my list please don't forget to tell me in the comments below!