Best free addins for Visual Studio 2008

Visual Studio 2008I have subscribed to the Microsoft Download Notifications weekly newsletter and it was only yesterday that I clicked something which I had never clicked in any newsletter before - Visual Studio Gallery. It is a list of addins - both free and free trials - for Visual Studio 2008 and if you are a .NET developer, you should not miss this!

Here's a list of the best 5 free addins I came across on that site. Hope you like them. Anyways, here's the site. Visual Studio Addins Gallery.

  1. Copy as HTML
    Forget SyntaxHighlighter and all other online JavaScript tools you'd require to paste code in your blog without giving up all the indents and formatting. After installing this lightweight addin a "Copy as HTML" item is added to the context menu on code selection in VS 2008. The generated HTML can be played around with, so you can provide your own custom feel to the markup. The only issue is that it copies < as &lt; and > likewise. So copying XAML code is an issue.

  2. WPF NotifyIcon
    This is the WPF equivalent of the WinForms NotifyIcon. With this, you do not need to initialize a system tray icon for your WPF application in code but in XAML itself.

  3. WPF AboutBox
    This is the WPF equivalent of the WinForms AboutBox. Detailed instructions on how to use it are available on the site itself.

  4. MRU Cleaner
    This add-in allows you to manage the MRU (Most Recently Used) list of projects which can get irritatingly long and unwieldy in Visual Studio 2008. However, positive reviews of this add-in have not been forthcoming on the Add-In Gallery site, so here is an alternative download link.
    Download MRU Cleaner

  5. The CodeProject Add-In
    Perhaps the best add-in in this list, the CodeProject add-in searches MSDN, CodeProject as well as the Web (Live Search) for articles based on what you enter in the search box. It may sound not too useful, but if you use it properly and to maximum advantage, you won't be able to code without it. Download link is here.
    Download The CodeProject Add-In


.NET Reflector

Occasionally, a .NET developer may feel the need to look through the source code for .NET base class libraries to know exactly what goes on behind the scenes. Unfortunately, (as far as I know) Visual Studio 2008 does not permit that - it only provides an object browser that merely shows the class names and its properties and method signatures. Enter .NET Reflector.

.NET Reflector is a free disassembler and analyzer tool for all the classes in the .NET assemblies. It provides an accurate representation of the .NET base classes hierarchy and disassembles in multiple languages including

  • C#
  • VB
  • IL
  • Chrome(!)
  • Delphi
  • MC++
Besides showing Disassembly and Analysis in different panes, it has some pretty solid features like Search, Options dialog, MSDN Search and Live Search It also supports add-ins developed specifically for the Reflector which can be downloaded from CodePlex. Download links for the Reflector and add-ins are below.

Download Red Gate's .NET Reflector
Download .NET Reflector Add-ins at CodePlex