Jul 282011

I find that with the extension support in VS2010, programmers don’t really have an excuse for not using tools to increase their productivity and to increase the overall quality of their work. I am a really lazy programmer, in the sense that I don’t’ like to do repetitive boring tasks. Extensions are one of the solutions to being a happy lazy programmer. The other one is writing quality code, but that’s another story. So here is a list of all Extensions that I use in day-to-day work

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Telerik JustCode This is my main productivity tool. I really like the refactoring options, the code navigation features and the overall features it provides. Also support is very good and there are a lot of feature requests or bugs that I’ve reported to them over time and got fixed. Alternatives are CodeRush and Resharper – both are good, so in the end it’s a matter of preferences. Commercial $249 / (or $199, without updates)
NuGet package manager If you haven’t heard about NuGet then you probably live in a cave or you are on the wrong blog. NuGet makes it extremely simple to manage references to 3rd party libraries and updates to them. Free
PowerCommands for Visual Studio 2010 This is a set of commands that show up in the solution explorer context menu. I use this mostly for the Close All Documents command, Open Containing Folder option, Copy Reference and Transform Templates. Free
Productivity Power Tools This extension actually makes Visual Studio as it should be. The two most useful features for me are the improved AddReferences dialog and the Document Tab Well. Also the solution navigator is nice, but I find it slow for big projects. Free
VSCommands 2010 This extension also adds some new commands to the solution explorer. It also has some useful features like stop build when first project fails or colorize output messages. The extension also brings in some useful debugging features and improved colorizing in XAML files.

There is a PRO version which has some nice features like reload project/solution without closing it. A very useful feature is Locate in Solution.

Free / Commercial (several licensing models starting at $49)
WoVS Default Browser Switcher Very simple but useful extensions. Allows you to set the default browser used when launching web projects. This does not affect the default browser on your machine. Free
CSharpIntellisensePresenter Improved Intellisense that helps you code faster. Allows to filter intellisense results based on type (property/field/method etc.). It is a bit buggy but if you are a fast code writer this will make you go faster. Free
SnippetDesigner This is a useful tool to export code snippets from your current code. It makes it easier to edit the snippet definition and placeholder fields. Free
XAML Intellisense Presenter Improved IntelliSense for XAML files. It has some focus issues but in general it works fine and helps you a lot when working manually with XAML. Free
Xaml Styler Has formatting options that clean XAML files. You can choose how to align attributes etc. Very useful to clean up the markup without a lot of tedious manual work. Free
devColor Underlines colors in stylesheets and provides a color picker for them. Free
Align Assignments Allows you to allign all the assignments so that it  makes it easier to use vertical selection to edit them. Free
Visual Nunit 2010 Integrated test runner. Not really necessary if you use JustCode/ReSharper/CodeRush. Free
tangible T4 Editor Provides a text editor for T4 templates with IntelliSense and keyword highlighting. Has some issues though with search and replace and refactoring does not work. Free / Commercial
Resource Refactoring Tool Very useful features for extracting strings to resources. Free
AutoCode AKA. Code snippets on steroids. This extension allows you to create very complex code snippets. The free version comes with a lot of them. You can get the full version by donating to the project or by writing about it. I really like this one because it overcomes the limitations of the built in snippet functionality. The only downside with it so far is that the documentation is not really comprehensive so you have to look in their provided snippets. Free / Commercial (around $10)

I would really like more suggestions about cool extensions that you are using in your development process.