Today, Shawn Wildermuth shared what he uses to develop Silverlight applications. Its a good list of mostly essential tools if you are going to work with Silverlight. While you do not need Blend, for example, you are severely handicapping yourself if you develop with Silverlight without it.
Shawn’s post made me realize how many tools we actually use to work with Silverlight. Silverlight 2 has only been out publicly (if you include betas) for about a year and look at all the stuff we can use. On the one hand its great we have so many tools already, on the other hand, that’s a lot to get familiar with if you are just diving into Silverlight.
Here is my list of tools, which is mostly the same as Shawn’s, with my own commentary. I broke it down into “must have’s”, “why wouldn’t you use these?” and “if it floats your boat”.
- Visual Studio + SP1: Need this
- Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio: You need these to do Silverlight in Visual Studio 2008
- Expression Blend 2 + SP1: Don’t fight this. It’s a fantastic tool.
- Silverlight 2 DataGrid Update (Dec 2008): Bug Fixes for the DataGrid.
Why Wouldn’t You Use These?
- FireBug: (Firefox Web Development plugin). Debugging is a must. Save yourself the heartache and use it.
- Web Development Helper: Debugging add-in for IE 7 and 8. Learn it, live it, love it.
- Fiddler2: Debugging HTTP network requests. Get the picture, you need a tool like this.
If it Floats Your Boat
- Expression Design: I am no designer, but it is nice for converting images to XAML.
- Expression Media Encoder: Video and audio conversion.
- Deep Zoom Composer: Cool zooming and interactive photo dives. Check it out.
- KAXAML: 3rd party XAML editor.
- Silverlight Toolkit: Great additional Silverlight controls by the Microsoft Silverlight team
- Silverlight Contrib: Page Brooks' has done us all a service by creating the fantastic open source project. The CoolMenu is my favorite.
- Silverlight.FX: Nikhil Kothari's transitions are very sweet
- Prism for Silverlight: Great tools for architecting Silverlight apps
- Unity: Dependency Injection that works great with Prism and Silverlight.
- Ninject: Another great DI tool.
- Silverlight Unit Testing Framework: unit testing solution for Silverlight 2 applications
- Resharper: Works great for refactoring in .NET, including Silverlight
Top 3rd Party Sivlerlight Control Suites (not free)