SharpDevelop Initial Review

As I mentioned in this post, I was interested in SharpDevelop, a free .net editor. I’ve been writing some with it a bit at home yesterday and today, and it strikes me as adequate for basic messing around at home on projects. Two months ago, I might have said it was super and all you’d need, but I’ve since experienced ReSharper, and I miss it at home! SharpDevelop does have syntax highlighting and Intellisense, though unlike Resharper, it does require a compile to pick up anything new, and doesn’t have marking of unused code, which has gotten me in the positively addictive habit of search-and-destroying.  It does have the ever-useful Go To Definition and Find References feature, as well as NUnit integration, which is nice.

The feel is a little bit homegrown- it’s definitely not the edges-polished look that VS/Resharper has. However, it so far seems extremely lightweight resource-wise, unlike VS/Resharper-when I had that with 1GB at work, my computer was practically useless.  My home computer with 1GB barely seems to notice SharpDevelop.  SharpDevelop  can work with Visual Studio solutions, which is very nice since most code you’ll find on the web is packaged that way.

Current judgment: VS with ReSharper really is fantastic, and is helpful in a thousand tiny ways. However, the combination would cost something like $400. At the office, it’s absolutely worth arguing it out with management to get it bought, and if you’re doing heavy work at home, it’s definitely worth the investment. That’s not everyone though-if you’re just doing small stuff, free stuff, just learning, or $400 is plain out of the question, SharpDevelop isn’t a bad way to go. It’s much, much better than notepad, and though less polished than Microsoft’s Express offerings, SharpDevelop is arguably more full-featured.


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