How do you like your ASP.NET??

One thing I love about blogs is the informal, “instant”, raw feedback it enables. While I would not bet my next 4 billion dollar product plan on the feedback I get on my blog, I certainly let it influence my, and my teams, opinions on a wide range of topics. So, can I buy you a beer and ask you a question?


What is your primary editor you use with you ASP.NET development? I know from reading the forums and talking to some of you at conferences that many of you experience ASP.NET through Visual Studio (did you know we have an absolutely free, completely functional version of Visual Studio??), but I also have some data that indicates some ASP.NET developers do not primarily use Visual Studio… If you don’t use VS, what do you use and why? Is there a way we can support you better in your tool of choice? Or, can we make VS better for you somehow?

We’d love to have your feedback!


Comments (24)

  1. snkscore says:

    Count me as one of the VS users.

  2. I’m a VS2005 Pro (and Orcas) user for primary development; however, I drop down into Notepad for quick edits.

    Why Notepad?

    – VS2005 with addins, etc. is a beast to load at times; even on a heavy dual-proc Xeon box… and if I need to change a value in an aspx server control from 1 to 0, I don’t want the environment–just to edit.

    What’d I’d like–

    – A stripped "Quick Edit" version of VS.  It’d have source control, it’d have my files, it’d have intellisense, but it wouldn’t take the time to parse the toolbox, the menus, everything that I don’t need to simply make a quick edit.


    Ehh, Visual Studio starts when I get to work and closes when I leave for the day, so it is (usually) moot unless I’m not at my desk.  Just random thoughts, of course.

  3. Andrew says:

    I use VS2005 for almost everything.  When I do drop out of it, it is to edit something quickly with notepad.  I find that happens most when I need to edit a Web.config file quickly, and I don’t want to load up visual studio (or the full project for that matter) just to do so.

    I am with David though.  Generally, I start VS when I get to work, I leave it up all day to do work.  It’s rare when I need to do load the whole thing just to do a "quick change".

    It would be nice to have a quick editor that I could install on our terminal server though.  I don’t want to throw a full blown copy of VS on it just so I can make remote changes.

    The only other time I drop out of visual studio is to connect and work with databases.

  4. Ken Egozi says:

    VS 2005 pro at work

    VS 2005 Wed Developer express at home

    Notepad2 for quick fixes

    Why notepad2?

    It’s a lot faster for quick changes I need to do. I fear not the lack of intelisence since I usually am using typed wrappers for dictionaries (Session, MonoRail’s PropertyBag, etc.) and there are also Unit Tests in place anyway.

    like said, I’d like to have David R. Longnecker’s "Quick Edit" VS. Since I never use any of the VS designers, I’d do with a lighter version easily enough.

  5. PWills says:

    +1 to a "VSLite", so long as it is VERY light.

    VS2005 = 48 oz porterhouse (everything you would ever want)

    VSExpress = 9oz filet (still a meal)

    VSLite = Beef jerkey

    VSLite would be installed with every version of VS, and the installer would create a "Edit in VSLite" Explorer context menu item for all VS file types.

    VSLite would do syntax highlighting and simple autocomplete (of properties and tags) but no IntelliSense. No solution explorer. No designer (ergo no Toolbox). Yes to MDI as long as it is fast.

    Personally, I use Notepad++ for a lot of small fixes and tweaks, and I would love to use an officially-sanctioned MSFT product instead.

  6. Derek says:

    I use Emacs for all of my development, including ASP.NET. For ASPX files themselves, I use nxml-mode with some basic minor mode enhancements (flyspell, c-subword-mode, …).

    I find the CLR Debugger in the SDK to be perfectly sufficient when that need arises, so I tend not to bother installing Visual Studio.

  7. Jon Sagara says:

    Visual Studio user here.

  8. DrWatson says:

    I use VS Std and Pro, I wish it was easy to add custom syntax highlighting and auto-complete (not necessarily IntelliSense). It should be easy to make VS show syntax coloring for PHP, Ruby, Python, batch files, etc. And I don’t think developing an addiin can be considered an easy solution. Simple syntax coloring is one of the reasons I purchased a copy of EditPlus and why I still use Notepad2.  Creating and sharing syntax coloring should be at least as easy as EditPlus does.

    Another wish would be to drop any restrictions to what kind of features you are allowed to add to VS Express through addins. I mean, I know paid versions of VS must stay appealing, but what is going on with TestDriven.Net is kind of sad.

  9. christophe says:

    I am an old dotnet developer; i use Komodo for some development (python, ruby on rails…), Mozilla platform or Django kits for others… (REST architecture…)

    best regards

  10. Jason says:

    I use VS2005 for working on projects and notepad++ for quick viewing & light editing.

    When someone has a question about how some class works, or I need to make a quick change, I want to minimize the amount of time in between thinking what I want to do and the computer doing it. For quick views & edits, opening VS is too heavy.

    But for developing a solution, I live in VS.

  11. Niels says:

    I use VS2005 almost all the times, but for some projects I should still use VS2003 for .Net 1.0 support (thanks to the ISP who wouldn’t upgrade to .Net 2.0) and for some quick fixes to deployed aspx pages I use dreamweaver.

    Although it has support, the feature to work directly on ftp sites is great. I would love to see that on VS2005.

  12. YESChandana says:

    No other tool like VS for ASP.NET.  

  13. mbergal says:

    We use Visual Studio 2003 + Resharper.

  14. Bruce Li says:

    VS2005 Pro

  15. vgsbs says:

    I use VS2005 and Orcas with NotePad++ for simlpe viewing/editing.

  16. Vijay Santhanam says:

    I use VS 2005 but can’t wait till Orcas is final.

    I love the speed, simplicity, power and performance of C# in VS, but ASP.NET projects build really slowly. Dynamic compilation alleviates the problem a great deal, but I still don’t get why ASP.NET build is so much slower than a basic C# product.

    I would love to see ASP.NET build faster. If that happened, my day would be considerably more productive. Especially when working on our larger projects.

  17. JBerke says:

    I am a VSTS user. I am playing around with third party editors for CSS as the one included in VSTS (And expression web) seem to be lacking.

    The bigest pain I have is that I cannot get to my source files unless I have Visual Studio open since we are using TFS. I know I could drop down into the command line and use some of the powertools but this is windows.

    A light weight TFS explorer would be nice.

  18. Vijay Santhanam says:

    TO: PWillis


    CodeSnippet Compiler is an almost VSLite

  19. Ryan says:

    Just keep making Visual Studio faster and more stable. I cannot wait for Orcas! JavaScript (including all of ASP.NET AJAX) Intellisense is key.

  20. Steve Owens says:

    I’m exactly like David and Andrew.  As a long-time VS user, back to v4.5, I’m pretty comfortable with the basic functionality of building, debugging, source control.

    If I need to do the "change the web.config quick" thing, I will use notepad++.  It has syntax highlighting and is fast (if a bit quirky).

  21. ugur says:

    Visual studio for all. only for minor changes I use notepad and sometimes for design Expression Web Designer

  22. mallio says:

    VS2005 for regular updates, but for quickies I just use VSS’s (  yes – still using VSS2k5 🙁  ) text editor to check-out, edit, check-in … only takes a few seconds!

  23. Mike says:

    I’d like to know if it would be possible to see an Eclipse plug in for developing ASP.NET , complete with Design Time stuff, built in web server etc.

    It’s good to know there are alternative options even though I use Visual Studio 2005.

  24. Somebody says:

    I still use VS2005 for creating major class collections and such, even though it locks every time I stop using it. I never use the compiler, debugger, or refactoring tools in VS2005 for ASP.NET – they’re slower than a dumptruck with eight flat tires.

    David Longnecker, Quick Edit does exist – in the form of GVim (

    GVim doesn’t have intellisense, but it has superb syntax highlighting for most known languages, and is sufficient to stop basic mistakes.

    I prototype CSS in Firefox using Firebug, and I do most basic page maintenance, blog writing, etc. directly inside my web site, using custom editing and debugging tools. After fighting the sluggishness of VS2005 on a Core 2 Duo, I was happy to build my own online coding/debugging/event management tools.

    VS2005 is the best development environment ever! I think it is Microsoft’s crowning piece of software. But don’t try using it with ASP.NET.