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// Tales from software development

Replacement for Reflector

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Inevitably, Red Gate announced earlier this year that it was going to start charging for .NET Reflector.

I say “inevitably” because why would a commercial organisation commit valuable time and resource to something that doesn’t add directly to its bottom line ? It’s a shame that when Lutz Roeder decided he could no longer commit the time required to developing and maintaining Reflector that it ended up with a commercial organisation. You can’t blame Lutz for earning a little bit of money for all his hard work but I would question why Red Gate bought it unless it had already decided that, sooner or later, it would only provide it for a fee.

While Red Gate should be applauded for the developing and maintaining Reflector over the past few years, personally I’ve found the developments either irrelevant or irritating. For example, the integration with Visual Studio created problems that never existed before. For example, the ‘auto update’ feature would insist on downloading the latest version and attempting to install it only to fail if you happened to have a copy of Visual Studio running. No helpful error messages either, it would just fail with an error that, if you thought about it hard enough, you’d realise meant that Reflector must be running somewhere.

I hope that Red Gate realise the bad feeling that their change in policy has already generated and will probably continue to create. If it seems a bit dumb for a commercial organisation to give away free stuff that cost it time and money to develop then the only thing worse is for it to then suddenly start charging for it. It’s inevitable that most users will feel that something has been taken away from them.

For now, running the old version 6.x release probably covers my needs. The cost of a basic licence for Reflector doesn’t seem unreasonable and Red Gate say it’s a one-off payment for a perpetual licence but presumably that’s only for version 7 and 7.x updates. So, that just means that it’s in Red Gate’s interests to release version 8.0 as soon as possible and charge for upgrades. If this sounds cynical then remember that this is the company that said it wouldn’t charge for Reflector and then reneged on that commitment.

There are some freeware alternatives. Ironically, the fact that Reflector was free was probably stifling any alternative implementations. ILSpy looks promising…

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Written by Sea Monkey

September 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Debugging, Development

Tagged with , ,

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