I'm often asked what tools I recommend for (general) .NET development, or at least which tools I use on a regular basis. Here's a list:
- Visual Studio Team Suite. I you can't get Team Suite, get the Professional version. If you can't get that one, use the Express version.
- Code Analysis, which is built into Visual Studio Team Suite. FxCop does the same thing, and is free to download.
- .NET Reflector. After MSDN Help (and possibly Google), this tool delivers the best documentation on the .NET Framework. Another free download.
- The unit testing framework that is built into Visual Studio Team Suite. If you don't have Team Suite, NUnit is a very good, free alternative, possibly in combination with NCover. TestDriven.NET integrates them into Visual Studio. All Free.
- If I need to edit graphics such as icons or other bitmaps, I use Paint.NET with some additional plug-ins installed. Free as well.
- Hardly needed at home, but for team projects at U2U we use Team Foundation Server.
There definitively are some other tools I should take a look at, for example WiX, or SandCastle and the SandCastle Help File Builder.
I you know of any must-have tools I didn't mention, drop a comment.