Refactoring Tools Reviewed, ReSharper Is it worth the money?

If you haven't used Resharper before, then this guide is for you.  In this guide, I'm going to give a brief overview of Resharper, what benefits it can give you and an explanation as to whether it's worth the money or not.

What is ReSharper?

ReSharper is a refactoring and productively plug-in/extension for Visual Studio.  Resharper has a number of nifty features that really should have been built into Visual Studio but haven't.  I've been using Resharper for about 7 years and I struggle to use Visual Studio without it now.  Out of the box, Visual Studio is still a bit clunky when it comes to navigating code, renaming properties, quickly debugging a unit test and a number of other things.

Resharper's aim is to remove this clunkiness and allow you to work more productively and quicker.  For a rough list of things you can do with ReSharper, Jet brains have produced this cheat sheet of features.  If you're worried that Resharper has to be a learning curve then don't.  You can simply install it and then use it as you go.  Just using a few of the simple features might be enough.  Resharper tools can be accessed through a context menu, or via keyboard shortcuts.  

How much does ReSharper cost?

The Resharper licensing model has definitely got a lot more complex over the years.  Nowadays, there are several options.  Resharper, Resharper Ultimate, All JetBrains products.  The amount you pay per year also varies based on how long you've had a license for (if you keep subscribing the costs go down).  I use the Resharper normal license and if you're starting off then that's $239 per year.

Is Resharper Too Expensive

Many companies/developers argue that Resharper costs too much.  That's a question that you'll have to decide for yourself.  In terms of time-saving, Resharper can easily save you, at a conservative guess, say 10 minutes a day, which over a year totals nearly 50 hours.

I've spent countless hours over my career refactoring projects for clients, before and after Resharper.  I remember working on one web forms project for a company whose name changed.  My boss at the time wanted all the namespaces, assembly etc.. updated to reflect this (I still have no idea why!!!).  I think the process took just over 2 days in total because as soon as I started changing names, I ended up with thousands of compile errors... that was a bad day.  Resharper also comes with a more powerful global renaming feature.  If I rename something ReSharper it will automatically update its references in views, comments, headers etc... I've done some similar global renaming afterward using Resharper and I've managed to get it done within 10-20 minutes.  2 days and lots of frustration whittled down to 10 minutes and a tool that does it all for you makes me happy at least :)

It's the same as the global auto remove unused namespaces features, one company I worked in, didn't want you to check any code file in with an unused using statement (pain in the bum), without Resharper, that is a very tedious goal to aim for.

Is ReSharper worth the money...  the choice is yours!

I guess this review is pretty biased as I've been using Resharper for many years and I've never looked back.  You can pretty much get to work with Resharper straight away and with a little bit of extra effort to learn a few extra shortcuts your workflow will get faster and faster.  So, if you're working with Visual Studio for long periods of time, Resharper pretty much pays for itself.  Sure it would be great if Microsoft simply brought Jetbrains and implemented Resharper into Visual Studio.  

A Visual Studio license isn't cheap in the first place and no one wants to pay extra costs.  If you use Visual Studio and you're committed to using.NET then paying a little extra to ensure your code is written to a higher standard and makes your life more enjoyable is a small price to me.  I personally value my time, so Resharper is a no-brainer for me. 

 

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Jon D Jones

Software Architect, Programmer and Technologist Jon Jones is founder and CEO of London-based tech firm Digital Prompt. He has been working in the field for nearly a decade, specializing in new technologies and technical solution research in the web business. A passionate blogger by heart , speaker & consultant from England.. always on the hunt for the next challenge

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