Tuesday, December 5, 2006

SharpDevelop - a free and opensource .NET IDE


If you want to develop applications using C# and .NET you have two free choices: Visual Studio Express and SharpDevelop. I'm sure you know about the first so I'll make a short description of SharpDevelop because I know it deserves your attention. At the first glance it looks a lot like Microsoft's Visual Studio: it has a Start Page, Solution Explorer, Toolbox, Clipboard Ring, Class Viewer and Task List. The first think that you will notice is the small download size: 4.1 MB (compared to ~400 MB for VS Express CD). And that's because it's also written in C#. Here are some of SharpDevelop main features:

  • Forms designer for C#, VB.NET and Boo
  • Integrated debugger
  • Code completion for C#, VB.NET and Boo (including Ctrl+Space support)
  • XML Editing
  • Integrated NUnit support plus code coverage (NCover)
  • Refactoring support
  • Parser-based code converter (C# to VB.NET / Boo and more)
  • Code AutoInsert (Alt+Ins)
  • C# to VB.NET converter, as well as VB.NET to C# converter
  • Completely written in C#
  • Compile C#, VB.NET & Boo code in the IDE out-of-the-box
  • Open source, LGPL licensed
  • Xml documentation preview
  • User interface translated to many languages
  • Everything templated: add new project or file types, or even compilers to SharpDevelop
There are some minuses like support for ASP.NET development, web services tools and lack of built-in debugger but even so it's a nice tool for those who want to start learning .NET or want to hack a small application fast. It's another proof that free and open source software can be good. If you are a Linux user you may be interested in MonoDevelop, a port of SharpDevelop for the Mono version of the .NET Framework.

1 comment:

Christoph said...

SharpDevelop actually does sport a debugger.