.NET & Delphi - Freeware and open source developer tools

People sometimes ask me which extra developer tools for Delphi, Visual Studio and .NET I am using. Professionally I am using some commercial tools in combination with several freeware and open source plugins, tools and components. A lot of these free tools, which are developed by members of the Delphi and .NET community, are really fantastic. So here is a detailed list. Please check them out.


Delphi plugins


  • Collection of great IDE plugins which increase your productivity in Delphi. The toolbar with the unit and uses list, the grep windows, the clipboard history, the message dialog, the ASCII chart and the source export are my favorites.



  • Small collection of plugins like the component selector, a very nice view units and forms dialog, the configuration manager, ...



  • A plugin which speeds up the time to load the IDE. By using some FastCode routines it improves the overall speed of the IDE.


Compact Framework Builder Helper (CFBH)

  • Wonderful plugin to develop .NET Compact Framework applications with Delphi 2006. CFBH contains templates for Pocket PC applications, emulator configuration settings, deployment features, class helpers, ...



Delphi tools


  • Old version but still an essential free tool to search for memory and resource leaks. It is really useful to find pointers and various other application resources that you allocated but did forget to free.



  • Very old version but still useful as a profiler for checking execution times and function calls.



  • Unit testing framework for Delphi.

DUnit IDE integration

  • Package for DUnit integration in Delphi IDE



  • "Yet Another Pretty Printer" is a simple tool to generate HTML or RTF for syntax highlighted Delphi code.



  • Check quantity and qualtity of your Delphi sources by collecting and measuring metrics (number of lines, comments, classes, variables, methods, complexity, ...)


Delphi components


  • Very fast alternative memory manager for Delphi. By only adding the FastMM unit to your project the overall performance of your application will be increased.



  • Very large collection of libraries, visual and non-visual components with sources for Delphi & Kylix. A must-have for every Delphi developer.


Visual Studio .NET plugins


  • Mole is a great visualizer for Visual Studio. Originally Mole only targeted WPF applications, but the latest versions can also be used for WinForms, Console, WCF, WF, ... applications. Mole shows a visual and logic tree of the user interface. Mole does not only allow you to view objects and data, it also allows you to drill into properties and child objects. A lot of properties can be modified and the result is displayed in a live preview.



  • PowerCommands is a set of useful extensions for Visual Studio 2008 adding additional functionality to various areas of the IDE. It includes several Copy & Paste actions, open folder, open prompt, ...



  • CopySourceAsHtml is an add-in for Visual Studio that adds some extra menus which allow you to copy source code to syntax highlighted HTML.


Cache Visualizer

  • Nice visualizer which shows the contents of the ASP.NET cache while debugging.


Regular Expressions Visualizer

  • Visualizer which will colorize and explain regular expressions. See also "The Regulator" tool.


LINQ for SQL Visualizer

  • Great visualizer which shows the SQL statements which are generated for a LINQ to SQL expression.


.NET tools


  • Essential class browser which uses .NET reflection to explore, view, search and analyze .NET assemblies. The decompiler allows you to view C#, .NET and Delphi code.


Managed Spy

  • Displays controls, properties, and events for running .NET applications. This tool is the .NET alternative for the old Win32 Spy++ tool.




  • Resource editor for .resources binaries and .resx XML files. It allows editing strings, bitmaps, icons, ... and merging resources from different sources.


Culture Explorer

  • Tool for exploring cultures that are supported by the .NET Framework 2.0. It provides details for each culture such as date, time, number, currency formating, calendar information, ...


The Regulator

  • An advanced regular expressions testing tool. It also has the ability to search the online regular expressions library.


Snippet Compiler

  • Compile and test snippets of C# and VB.NET code without creating projects. I also like the syntax highlighting HTML exporting feature.


XMLDoc Viewer

  • Simple XML document viewer with a nice treeview and a find feature which supports XPath expressions.



  • Most popular .NET unit-testing framework. It also has a GUI to run your tests and check the results.



  • GUI and command line tool that analysis your .NET managed code assemblies for conformance to the .NET Framework Design Guidelines.



  • LINQPad is an advanced LINQ expressions testing and learning tool. Just add a connection to your (SQL Server) database and LINQPad will create a LINQ to SQL object model of your tables. Then you can start executing LINQ to SQL queries. The results will be displayed as HTML tables.



  • There is also a nice open source SandCastle GUI Builder. It is a GUI front-end for the command line SandCastle tools.

  • Eric Woodruff


Other tools


  • Collection of great tools to troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems and applications (process explorer, file monitor, registry monitor, TCP view, debug view, ...).


UI Spy

  • UISpy is a standalone executable from Microsoft which enables developers to view all UI elements and their details like classname, automationid, ... This tool is bundled with the Windows SDK for Vista Update.



  • A tool like Spy++ (bundled with Visual Studio) but with a lot of extra handy features. Excellent tool to inspect the control handles and the windows messages in your Win32 applications.


XN Resource Editor

  • Powerful and fully featured resource editor to manage strings, bitmaps, icons, ... in .res, .exe and.dll files.


TCP Trace

  • Small but handy TCP communication / SOAP messages tracer.



  • Grab a color from the screen and convert it to its hexadecimal value, RGB, CMYB, ...