Visual Studio Tools
I've been meaning to post something about two awesome and competing toolsets that recently have some news to report. First, my friends at DevExpress won both the Attendee's Pick : Overall Winner and Breakthrough Product awards at Tech:Ed Developers a couple of weeks ago. DXperience won the Attendee's Pick. CodeRush, their productivity-enhancing Visual Studio tool, won the latter award, and you can watch a video of a complete non-computer user shaming a developer (Brendan) last November, here (she also beat me and everybody else who challenged her). Congratulations, DevExpress!
Also new this month, CodeRush/Refactor!'s primary competitor ReSharper (from JetBrains) version 4.0 was released. Some recent discussions of the merits of one of these tools over the other on the ALT.NET mailing list have broken down into the usual religious debates, with my personal consensus being that whichever tool one first learns and gets productive with is the one that will be favored. Both are tremendously better than VS alone, but both also have a significant learning curve. I've used both and tend to switch back and forth mainly because I try not to have either one installed when I'm presenting. Consequently, I'm not a ninja with either tool, but having been beaten soundly by Sara last November, I have a great deal of respect for CodeRush, and hope some day to learn it properly. It has a nice learning curve reducing feature that lets you see all of the available shortcut keys as you move through your code, which I find much better than trying to read documentation. It's also good to know that CodeRush shipped with support for Visual Studio 2008 last November, while ReSharper 4.0 is only just now available (though nightly builds have been available to play with). Overall, I think both are great tools, and hopefully in the future ReSharper will ship a little closer to the Visual Studio version it's targeting, but today both are available and I'd be comfortable recommending either one. Perhaps I'll write a proper comparison review at some point - would anybody find that worthwhile?