UPDATE Check out the latest version of this post, 7 Essential .NET Developer Tools for 2017, now live on the Okta developer blog!

Having the skills and knowledge to do your job is only one part of the battle. You also need the right tools to achieve success. At Stormpath we recently broadened our suite of awesome developer tools with the addition of our Chrome extension, JWT Inspector. JWT Inspector allows developers to decode and inspect JSON Web Tokens in requests, cookies, and local storage, as well as debug JWTs directly from the console, or from the built-in UI. Essential tool? We think so.

What other tools are essential to productivity or quality of life? Well, that depends on the work itself, but our team relies on a standard set of .NET developer tools that allow them to tackle most projects with ease. Today, we’re excited to share that toolkit with you!

1. StyleCop.Analyzers

StyleCop provides static source code analysis, akin to linting for .NET. It enforces a set of style and consistency rules and offers hundreds of code formatting recommendations to help developers follow accepted best practices. StyleCop can run inside Visual Studio, or be integrated into an MSBuild project.

This tool bears a resemblance to ReSharper’s code refactorings, but is 100% open source, and free. Stormpath .NET evangelist Nate is a dedicated contributor, and can’t recommend the tool highly enough!

2. ReSharper

ReSharper is the granddaddy of all Visual Studio developer tools. It extends the Visual Studio experience by adding code analysis and refactorings (including some impressively complex LINQ suggestions), quick navigation and handy shortcuts, and built-in code generators to save you typing.

If you (or your employers) don’t mind dropping a little cash, ReSharper can help boost your productivity and code quality. There’s a 30-day free trial so you can try it and see for yourself if it improves your workflow.

3. Visual Studio Code

What? A lightweight version of Visual Studio that’s 100% free and open source? That’s Visual Studio Code, for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It comes with intelligent auto-completion, editor-level code debugging, built-in Git commands, and tons of extensions. Did we mention free?

4. Fluent Assertions

Fluent Assertions is a powerful assertion library designed to help developers write better and more readable tests. As the creators assert, nothing is more annoying than a unit test that fails without explaining why. We agree! Fluent Assertions is 100% free and open source and designed to help you clearly name your assertions and provide detailed, useful failure language.

There are also a number of community extensions maintained for the project. These include:
FluentAssertions.Ioc.Ninject which tests Ninject bindings
FluentAssertions.Mvc which tests MVC applications
FluentAssertions.Autofac which tests Autofac configurations
Xamarin version for Mono support

5. NCrunch

Instead of running your tests after you write some code, NCrunch will run them as you type. It provides automated concurrent testing in Visual Studio, as well as quality metrics like code coverage and performance metrics, inline in your IDE.

NCrunch is a paid tool, but we think it’s worth the investment. A named license will run you ~$160, or ~$290/seat as a company license.

6. LINQPad

LINQPad is a self-professed playground for writing and testing LINQ queries, but its usefulness extends beyond LINQ, too. It can test any C# or Visual Basic snippet or program, query databases in LINQ or SQL, and comes with optional autocomplete and integrated debugging, allowing you to script and automate easily in any .NET language. LINQPad really shines when it comes to complex queries with lots of data.

The standard edition of LINQPad is free, but unlocking the most exciting features requires an upgrade to one of their paid tiers.

7. SourceTree

The command line is the most powerful tool in any developer’s kit, but sometimes it’s nice to break free. SourceTree is a free Git client from Atlassian that manages all your hosted and local repositories through one simple GUI interface. It’s a great tool for newbies who are transitioning to Git, and fully-featured for Git experts.

Bonus: Visual Studio Power Mode

Visual Studio Power Mode adds explosions while you type, because baby, you’re a firework!

While we’re talking about what’s in your .NET toolkit, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Stormpath’s .NET SDK and integrations. If one SDK could prevent you from ever having to build authentication and authorization in-house again, wouldn’t you agree it’s an essential? To learn more, check out these resources:
Token Authentication in ASP.NET Core
Tutorial: Build an ASP.NET Core Application with User Authentication
Tutorial: Deploy an ASP.NET Core Application on Linux with Docker

Let us know what your favorite tools are in the comments!