Voice from the field

Tags: Tools

Wrench and Hammer

February 11 2016

Here is a set of tools which must-read for all developers. Just save it here with link to examples and documentation. Please do not blame me if you unable to find here your favorite tool. I am an-old-school-guy and prefer verified instruments.

Installation command start with "PM>" for Nuget packages need to be run from Package Manager Console of Visual Studio. Here is an example of installing log4net

However, you may prefer Nuget Manager. Just fund a package provided with the same name.


Ok. Here I go with a Wrench & Hammer list:


Developing Tools

    Visual Studio

      Well-known IDE for Windows developers. V 2015 version recommended

      Download and install from MSDN subscription or free community edition.

    VS code

      For Web MVC projects with cross platform requirements.

      Download free


      For cross platform requirements projects iOS/Android/Windows.

      Download free



    Install project

      Extension, which is help to create MSI installer for your binaries, has options of verifying pre-requirements, registry, and files. Removed since VS 2010 install project.

      Download from gallery.


Data Connectivity

    Entity Framework

      Integrated in most VS templates data connection framework. Supports many DB technologies.

      Good for code-first and Model-First scenario.

      Issues: Chatty. Need provide conflict resolution in case of concurrent connection from other customer's app

      Code first, Model first, Database First examples.

      Installation: PM> Install-Package EntityFramework



      Microsoft developed Lightweight framework for simple data structures. Recommended for Code-First scenario.

      Issues: Dropped since VS 2010.


      Installation: Download form msdn site.



      Lightweight framework for simple code first modeling. Easy to use and config. Support most of the DB technologies.  


      Installation: MP> Install-Package NHibernate



    Enterprise Library

      Highly recommended for adoption framework that is consist of logging, configuration, exception handling, IoC assemblies. Logging configures from the *.config and has no issues with Event Sources on target machine.

      Documentation and examples for logging.

      Installation for logging: PM> Install-Package EnterpriseLibrary.Logging



      Lightweight and popular logging framework to help the programmer output log statements to a variety of output targets.


      Installation for logging: PM> Install-Package log4net



    MS Unit Testing framework

      Library for building automation test. MSTest.exe - Tool to run automated tests. Can be execute from VS interface.

      Info and Attributes

      Installation: No packages installation, part of the Test Project in VS.



      Popular framework for running and creation automated tests.


      Installation: PM> Install-Package NUnit




      Lightweight and popular Mock framework for mocking objects and interfaces.

      Issues: No private method testing.


      Installation: PM> Install-Package Moq


    MS Test Mock

      Microsoft testing framework for mocking objects and interfaces. The framework can access to the private methods throw the assessors.

      Mocking Examples, Assessors  

      Installation: No packages installation, part of the Test Project in VS.



    Swagger / Swashbuckle

      Colorful framework for building live documentation for you Web API. Provide way of testing API operation from standalone Jscript UI page. Integrated to the MVC template and available for other as Nuget package.


      Installation: MP> Install-Package Swashbuckle


Windows Automation

    PowerShell reference assemblies

      Assemblies available for exact version of PowerShell (v3, v4 and v5) for development and testing cmdlets. For debugging, you need to provide following command to make your VS run automation code:

      Powershell.exe -noexit -command "&{ import-module .\[your project assembly] -verbose}


      Installation: PM> Install-Package Microsoft.PowerShell.5.ReferenceAssemblies


    Windows Management Framework

      Set of the tools and assemblies for building and testing PowerShell related tech DSC and etc.



MS Exchange

    Exchange Web Services (EWS)

      Client-side assemblies for connection to Exchange server trough Web protocols.

      Library can be accessible by Nuget Package or installed with SDK


      Installation: PM> Install-Package Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices


HTML parsing

    Html Agility Pack

      Library for parsing and converting HTML to XML to make advantage of DOM mode for navigate through the tags. LINQ queries and XPath queries are supported.   

      Documentation download Help file from project page. Example.

      Installation: PM> Install-Package HtmlAgilityPack


    Tidy, TidyManaged

      Lightweight tool for cleanup and parse HTML documents. Extremely fast.

      It has also option of converting to XML with XDocument and Xpath further processing.

      Issue: Build on C++ and CPU architecture related. Nuget contains only "x86" version

      Documentation, old-school examples or download builds from legacy site.

      Installation: PM> Install-Package TidyNetPortable



    Visual Studio Application Insights

      Set of the Nuget packages and settings, which is, make your app send diagnostic date in Azure and then provide you nice reports and charts, collect exception and trace, measure page load times from users of your web app.

      Get Started

      Installation:  Part of the VS. Activate for project.