Cool Tools 5: .NET Decompilers

Any self-respecting programmer has a suite of decompilers in their arsenal.  Hey, the WebCenter Interaction portal is great, but it’s not without its fair share of bugs, and often Oracle Support isn’t going to give you a lot of, well, support – so sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands.  Today’s Cool Tools are two of the best .NET decompilers I’ve used; I’ll have a post for Java decompilers soon.

I’m kind of split on this one and go back and forth between Dis# Decompiler and Red Gate’s .NET Reflector.  I do a lot of decompiling, and both have proven relatively useful. As professional tools, they’re not cheap ($399 and $195 for the professional versions, respectively), but can save hours of time, and both have free trial versions.  Red Gate’s Reflector even has free version available.

Personally, I sway a little more to Dis# Decompiler for one reason:  You can have it decompile ALL class files in a .DLL at once.  This is highly useful if you’re looking at bad portal code and are trying to search for a particular string somewhere in the portal libraries, but don’t know which class it might be in; you can decompile everything to disk and search with a text tool.  Red Gate, on the other hand, offers Visual Studio integration – which I haven’t tried yet – that promises to allow you to step through compiled code like you would with your own source.

So there you have it – two decent tools to check out when it comes time to figuring out why something’s broken.  Let me know if you’ve got a preference, or feel free to recommend something else!

Dis# Decompiler

Red Gate’s .NET Reflector

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3 Responses to “Cool Tools 5: .NET Decompilers”

  1. Omid says:

    Hard to see why these are so expensive when the java equivalent (jad and jadclipse) is free….

  2. Matt Chiste says:

    I suspect – at least with Java vs. .NET – it comes down to open source (where revenue is driven by services) or closed source (where revenue is driven by product sales). It’s a tough line to walk when you do both, but either way, it’s the value proposition. The same could be said about the cost of the WebCenter portal or Spaces: there are viable alternatives out there that are much cheaper (or free!), but Oracle is making a value proposition that they have the best solution that saves money in the long run.

    Anyone have any better suggestions for less expensive .NET decompilers?

    • Omid says:

      No comment on the value proposition comment…lets just say I disagree about both Java vs .NET and free portals vs paid portals…..

      The one recommendation though I could make is that if you do find problems in the .NET version of WebCenter Interaction, there is a chance that the same problem exists in the java version so you could save yourself the cost of buying the .NET decompilers. This only works though if you are not planning on then “fixing” the bug yourself.

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