Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Reflector is dead. Long live Reflector! (or reflector alternatives)

It's sad when great ideas get lost in the name of money and progress

It's sad but it was recently announced that one of the most well known tools for .Net development will cease to be offered for free. I am talking of course for .Net Reflector.Unfortunately in the Greek community I haven't seen to much about it which makes me even more sad about the software development in my country (at least there has been a short discussion here).
Anyway, just for the record, the official announcement of the Reflector going for a price model is here. It's a big change indeed but I think we should have seen it coming. We all are part of a community (.Net) which is used to pay for everything, it's almost as we don't enjoy coding otherwise. Starting from our IDE going all the way to the most "sofisticated" tools - which are usually free in other communities (e.g. Java) - like NHibernate Profiler, NCover, Memory Profilers and many many more. It's amazing that most of these tools are quite often WORSE that their open source alter egos.
Don't get me wrong. Some of these tools are great, and for some of them I am also willing to pay the price but the whole situation is messed up. There has been some breakthroughs in the oss community of .Net the last years with some excellent projects and a great solution to the big problem of package management (call me Codeplex, ALT .Net and Nuget) but still I am sure that developers from other worlds are laughing with us. So here I provide some nice alternatives for Reflector, all of them free and/or open source.

  1. Common Compiler Infrastructure (CCI)
  2. Mono Cecil
  3. ILSpy
  4. Kaliro
  5. Dotnet IL Editor (DILE)
  6. Monoflector
I am personally looking seriously into ILSpy and Monoflector. ILSpy is made from the SharpDevelop team (these guys are just great) and Monoflector uses the Mono Cecil engine with a WPF UI on top of it, it looks quite promising although it's not fully working yet.

Last but not least I got to state that the price RedGate is asking for the old good Reflector is not too much and I am sure that people will appreciate the effort. But being asked to pay for a tool that a)has always been free and b)uses an open source engine (Mono Cecil) in its core... It's getting on my nerves!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for putting together this list of free alternatives! Here is another one I recently came across: http://bit.ly/hqPOYf Wondering who's behind it?