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Alternative IDEs to Visual Studio.NET Print Printable Version
Author: James Foster Date Posted: 02/17/2003 .NET Version: 1.0.3705
When you're looking to put together a small project or demo, Visual Studio.NET can be overwhelming. This article introduces you to several alternative IDEs that can be used for .NET development. Some feature as little as syntax highlighting over the basic text editing features, while others feature intellisense and menu options for compiling and running your application. Here's a list of several tools available:

ASP.NET Web Matrix
Company Microsoft
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URL http://www.asp.net/webmatrix/default.aspx?tabindex=4&tabid=46
Version 1.0
Cost Free!
Notes ASP.NET Web Matrix is a community-supported, easy-to-use WYSIWYG application development tool for ASP.NET. It is more file-based than project and code-behind based, and hence bares more similarity to Visual Interdev.
Company Sapien
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URL http://www.primalscript.com/primalscript.htm
Version 2.2
Cost $149
Notes PrimalScript supports many languages, and features intellisense for many non-.NET languages including classic ASP and javascript. Sapien has recently released PrimalCode for .NET, a product geared specifically for .NET however (see below).
Company Sapien
URL http://www.primalscript.com/primalscript.htm
Version 3.0
Cost $249
Notes PrimalCode is Sapien's offering specifically designed for .NET. It closely resembles the Visual Studio.NET IDE, so is definitely worth reviewing when considering alternative IDEs for your project. The FTP deployment option is perfect for those with remotely hosted web applications.
Company Open Source [ Mike Krueger]
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URL http://www.icsharpcode.net/OpenSource/SD/default.asp
Version 0.94b Beta
Cost Free!
Notes SharpDevelop is an open source project that has visual elements similiar to Visual Studio.NET. It features syntax coloring and intellisense. They have made several enhancements since our last review. This is a good IDE for an unbeatable price, and being open source, it's a learning tool itself.
Company C Point
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URL http://www.c-point.com/csharp.htm
Version 4.2
Cost $35
Notes Antechinus was one of the first C# editors available for the .NET platform. It features basic intellisense and syntax coloring, as well as the ability to compile your applications from within the IDE. Setup is simple with the .NET auto-detection.
Company Borland (formerly StarBase)
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Version 7.0
Cost $249 [electronic download]
Notes CodeWright has been around a number of years in the programming community, and you can use this editor beyond .NET. It features syntax coloring, and the ability to compile your applications from within the IDE.
Company Open Source [Slava Pestov and others]
Click to Enlarge
URL http://jedit.sourceforge.net/
Version 4.0.3
Cost Free!
Notes jEdit is a programmer's text editor written in Java that features, among other languages, syntax highlighting for C#. If you are looking for a cross-platform editor, take a look at jEdit.
Company Source Dynamics, Inc.
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URL http://www.sourceinsight.com/
Version 3.5
Cost $249
Notes Source Insight is primarily geared for C++, C#, and Java developers.
Visual SlickEdit
Company SlickEdit, Inc.
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URL http://www.slickedit.com/products/pr_products.php
Version 7.0
Cost $299
Notes SlickEdit supports many different languages, including C#. The site claims intellisense support for .NET, although this did not work consistently in our tests.
Improve C# plugin for Eclipse
Company Improve Technologies
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URL http://www.improve-technologies.com/alpha/esharp/
http://www.eclipse.org [IBM Eclipse]
Version 2.01
Cost Free!
Notes The Improve C# Plugin is a free open-source plugin for IBM Eclipse, itself a free and open-source development environment. You get syntax highlighting, a content assistant (intellisense for C# keywords), and the ability to compile your code from within the IDE. [Thanks Fabrice]

Know of another tool not listed here that you think deserves listing, or of an update to a tool already listed? Talk to us, and let us know at feedback@dotnetcoders.com