Gunnar Peipman's ASP.NET blog

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dotPeek–JetBrains replaces .NET Reflector

Today I got e-mail from JetBrains stating that there is dotPeek early build available for download. dotPeek is .NET assemblies decompiler that is offered for free and that should replace .NET Reflector (not free anymore). dotPeek will also be part of ReSharper 6. In this posting I will give you brief introduction about dotPeek.

dotPeek in pictures

Here you can see dotPeek showing contents of DataRow class.

dotPeek: Source code of DataRow class

dotPeek is able to get sources from symbol files and decompiling the assembly.

dotPeek: Decompile sources or get sources from symbol files

Symbol files are downloaded from Microsoft reference sources server.

dotPeek: Downloading symbol files from MS server

One very cool feature I found is that you can search for class usages in loaded assemblies.

dotPeek: Find usages of class in assemblies

Results are shown in separate pane and you can click nodes open to see where class is used.

My experience

dotPeek works smoothly and fine once it is loaded. UI is responsive and works fine. Although this is early version it is worth to try out because quality is high as always when JetBrain releases something. Some downsides I mentioned:

  • event for small amount assemblies (the ones shown by deafult) the memory consumption is about 150MB,
  • decompiling of classes seems to be slower than in .NET Reflector,
  • UI doesn’t let you know when it works on something (no notice on statusbar).

I think these problems will be solved when dotPeek is ready.


Making .NET Reflector paid product means that glory days of .NET Reflector are over. Competitors with very good skills are developing alternative free tools and I’m almost sure that .NET Reflector has no way back. dotPeek is very good example of market changes. There are nice new features like symbol stores support and I am sure that based on ReSharper experiences there will be more nice features that we will find from dotPeek in near future.

Posted: May 19 2011, 01:32 AM by DigiMortal | with 5 comment(s)
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A said:

RIP Reflector

what about ethics in whole thing?

taking someone works and trying to make money from it

is it sign of our times?

# May 19, 2011 7:34 AM

DigiMortal said:

Well, it was Redgate who promised to keep Reflector free for community and it was also Redgate who broke the promise. Reflectgor is free for current users, they can download the last free version. All new users have to buy license. As there was no free replacement then now Redgate's competitors will fill the space now with free products.

Of course, also they are making money from their tools but it seems to me that they are way stronger on driving sales of other products through free offers.

If Redgate wants to make comeback it will be no easy task because a lot of users are found replacement tools that are way more powerful than Reflector was. Practically you can consider Reflector to be dead and gone and it's time to find some other tools.

# May 19, 2011 10:03 AM

Ben said:

I'm constantly amazed at the crying and whining from supposedly "professional" developers--who generally make money from writing software--when they discover they have to (gasp, horror) pay for someone else's software.

Oh, how much is this dastardly new version of Reflector? $500? $1000? Oh, wait, it's THIRTY FIVE BUCKS.


# June 18, 2011 12:02 PM

DigiMortal said:

The point here is not the price but promise made by vendor that they keep this piece of software free. For me $35 is not a problem but there are a lot of people and amateurs who may find it expensive.

I think JetBrains is making good marketing for their other products by offering free replacement for .NET Reflector. I tried their product and it seems to me like something very good is coming. Why not using it?

# June 19, 2011 2:20 PM

GMac said:

What comes to mind when you hear the name "Redgate"?  

And now what comes to mind when you hear the name "JetBrains"?

So who has the better PR in the .NET community at this point?

# July 5, 2011 11:58 PM