Free and Useful tools for SQL Server and .Net development

At a lot of the places I’ve worked at over the years, money has usually been an object. As a result I’ve had to find quality tools that cost a bit less. Below are a list of those applications that I use on a fairly regular basis.

fxcop application window
Microsoft FxCop
FxCop is a utility put out by Microsoft that will check your .net code for obvious performance problems and to make sure that your code meets Microsoft’s coding standards. It has actually been bundled with the Microsoft Windows SDK for .net 4.0.
Cost: Free Download. My links for FxCop.

sandcastle application window
Sandcastle is Microsoft’s help file compiler that takes the XML comments in your code and converts it into nicely formatted documentation. It comes has a command line tool, but fortunately there is a nice ui you can get from codeplex for it.
Cost: Free Download. My links for SandCastle.

SSMS tools pack for SQL server
The SSMS tools are one of those must have add ons if you use SQL Server Management Studio a lot. The color coding for the different server connections alone is worth installing it. It also comes with snippets and templates for generating stored procedure. The interface could use a better selection of colors, but it’s a very useful set of tools to have.
Cost: Free Download. My links for SSMS tools pack.

application window for the performance dashboard reports
SQL Server performance dashboard reports
The performance reports are another must have especially if you’re having SQL Server performance issues. The missing index report is something I usually check about once a month to see if there are any indexes that need to be added. Well worth the price of a download and an install.
Cost: Free Download.

starinix application window.
Starinix Database Compare
I’ve just discovered this tool a few months ago,but has definitely helped me while moving databases from a test to a production environment. It’s the only database compare program that I’ve found that’s this easy to use and is still free. Although this may change now that I’ve found that Visual Studio 2010 can do database compare as well.
Cost: Free Download.

Dynatrace application window.
DynaTrace Ajax edition
If you have any problems diagnosing ajax performance issues on fairly complex web applications this is one of the tools that can help pull your butt out of a fire. Probably one of the nicer client applications that I know of for web performance optimization.
Cost: Free Download. My links on Dynatrace.

If you’ve done any web developement on Firefox this one should need no introduction, it’s the granddaddy of client side web debugging. Still one of the best, although these days I find myself using the developement tools in chrome more and more.
Cost: Free Download. My links on FireBug.

Yahoo’s yslow plugin for firefox was the first tool that I think started the whole page loading optimization craze over the last couple of years. I’ve tried the Pagespeed Extension for Chrome but for some reason I still like Yslow better, maybe its the simpler design.
Cost: Free Download. My links on Yslow.

nunit application window
Nunit is an open source unit testing framework that I like working with a lot more than the unit testing framework that comes with Visual Studio.
Cost: Free Download. My links on nunit.

Nant is an open source build tool for .net that I use from time to time. It’s very similar to Ant.
Cost: Free Download My links on nant

Mike GriffithFree and Useful tools for SQL Server and .Net development