My favorite Visual Studio 2015 Extensions

Whenever I teach or present, people ask me why their copy of Visual studio doesn’t look like mine. The reason is the extensions I have installed. I’m really impressed with Visual Studio’s extension model, and how rich the ecosystem for Visual Studio extensions are.

It’s even gotten more rich with the release of Visual Studio 2015, and Roslyn based analyzers.


Here (in alphabetical order) are the extensions I use all the time:

The .NET Compiler Platform SDK:  This extension provides all the tools and templates that I need to create Roslyn based analyzers, diagnostics, and refactorings. As of RTM, this extension includes the Roslyn syntax visualizer, which was previously a separate install.

C# Essentials: This extension is a set of Roslyn based analyzers and code fixes that help you adopt the new features of C# 6. If you falling into old habits, and using old constructs, when you want to adopt the new language syntax, this analyzer will help you build those new habits.

Chutzpah Test Adapter: This extension runs Jasmine based unit tests for my JavaScript code in the Visual Studio Test explorer window. Adding this extension means that my JavaScript tests run with every code change, just like my C# based unit tests run on every build. It’s a great way to enforce TDD practices with your JavaScript client code.

Chutzpah Test Runner Context Menu Extension: Sometimes I want to run my Jasmine tests in the browser to use the browser based debugging tools. With this extension, I can right-click on a test, and Chutzpah will generate a test HTML file with JavaScript loaded to run the tests.

Code Cracker for C#: This is another Roslyn-based analzyer that finds and fixes many common coding errors. It’s also available as a NuGet package, if you’d rather install it on a project-by-project basis.

Github extension for Visual Studio: I use this extension in addition to the standalone GitHub for Windows application. It makes it easy to stay inside Visual Studio while working with GitHub Flow.

Telerik JustDecompile extension: This requires you to install JustDecompile, which is free. I use these extensions to understand what IL my C# compiles down to. It helps me when I’m writing articles, or looking through the C# spec.

Powershell tools for Visual Studio 2015: This extension helps when I’m writing or debugging Powershell scripts.

Productivity Power Tools 2015: This extension provides many useful UI features: Presentation mode (switches font sizes), Tab Well enhancements, Visualizer enhancements in Solution Explorer, and many, many more.

Web Essentials: If you do web development, you need this. Period. It makes so many of the web programming tasks much, much, easier.

If you compare my list to yours, note that the above is an incomplete list. I did not include any of the extensions that install as part of the Visual Studio install (like ASP.NET templates, TypeScript support).

That’s my list. What’s yours?

Created: 8/4/2015 4:07:44 PM

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