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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

.NET Reflector Pro Coming…

The very best software is almost always originally the creation of a single person. Readers of our 'Geek of the Week' will know of a few of them.  Even behemoths such as MS Word or Excel started out with one programmer.  There comes a time with any software that it starts to grow up, and has to move from this form of close parenting to being developed by a team.  This has happened several times within Red-Gate: SQL Refactor, SQL Compare, and SQL Dependency Tracker, not to mention SQL Backup, were all originally the work of a lone coder, who subsequently handed over the development to a structured team of programmers, test engineers and usability designers.

Because we loved .NET Reflector when Lutz Roeder wrote and nurtured it, and, like many other .NET developers, used it as a development tool ourselves, .NET Reflector's progress from being the apple of Lutz's eye to being a Red-Gate team-based development  seemed natural.  Lutz, after all, eventually felt he couldn't afford the time to develop it to the extent it deserved. Why, then, did we want to take on .NET Reflector?  Different people may give you different answers, but for us in the .NET team, it just seemed a natural progression. We're always very surprised when anyone suggests that we want to change the nature of the tool since it seems right just as it is. .NET Reflector will stay very much the tool we all use and appreciate, although the new version will support .NET 4, and will have many improvements in the accuracy of its decompiling.

Whilst we've made a lot of improvements to Reflector, the radical addition, which we hope you'll want to try out as well, is '.NET Reflector Pro'. This is an extension to .NET Reflector that allows the debugging of decompiled code using the Visual Studio debugger. It is an add-in, but we'll be charging for it, mainly because we prefer to live indoors with a warm meal, rather than outside in tents, particularly when the winter's been as cold as this one has. We're hoping (we're even pretty confident!) that you'll share our excitement about .NET Reflector Pro.

.NET Reflector Pro integrates .NET Reflector into Visual Studio, allowing you to seamlessly debug into third-party code and assemblies, even if you don't have the source code for them. You can now treat decompiled assemblies much like your own code: you can step through them and use all the debugging techniques that you would use on your own code. Try the beta now.

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