JetBrains Rider

I'm a huge Microsoft Visual Studio fan, but.. also addicted to ReSharper, which keeps slowing down Visual Studio. JetBrains Rider is an alternative IDE that is only the best of ReSharper and none of the Visual Studio Legacy.

So, for the last tip of the day, I'll do some evangalizing for JetBrains Rider. This is a tough one, as I am a huge fan of Visual Studio. It looks beautiful, and it is 100% meant to work with all Microsoft goodness. At some point I discovered the powerful ways that ReSharper made me more productive by giving me useful hints and excellent refactor options. This was great, a power-up for Visual Studio! But as it turns out that extra functionality also made Visual Studio slower, by quite a lot. Luckily, I have always had pretty beefy machines so that was not too much of a problem.

Then a few years ago I was talking to Maarten Balliauw after a MeetUp and he told me his team at JetBrains was working on a new IDE for .NET. I was baffled and asked: "but WHY", it felt like they were re-inventing the wheel.

Rider came out soon after and it was... actually okay. But it was so very ugly (all Java apps in that time had that particular drab gray colour scheme). After tweaking the colour scheme a lot, it was sort-of friendly on the eye, but I couldn't really look at it for more than an hour at a time.

Long story short, about 2 years ago I tried again and only had to make a few tweaks for the color scheme to be very pleasant and while it doesn't match the sleek look of VS, I still love looking at it all day.

A screenshot of how my Rider instance looks, file tree on the left, a C# code file open

Now that we've established how shallow I am 😉 let's look at why Rider is great, in my opionon:

  • Cross-platform - this is HUGE now that .NET runs natively on all platforms
  • It's all of ReSharper and none of the Visual Studio overhead - I am absolutely not missing a single thing from Visual Studio
  • Speaking of ReSharper; since I already was very used to all the keyboard shortcuts, I didn't have to learn any new ones in Rider, everything just mapped right over
  • Git Extensions has a plugin for Rider - though some of my colleagues swear by the built-in git support; to each their own
  • Very fast on the support for new .NET frameworks, so I'm not scared that I can't run the latest Umbraco release candidate with a cutting-edge .NET version dependency
  • Settings import / export is great to get a new instance running like I want it, for example when switching to Ubuntu for a bit

I could go on but mostly I'm just super happy with the amount of productivity I get from "ReSharper" being my development environment.

This is very much not a post to convince you to use it, you'll have to convince yourself! But if you want to try it out, I have one golden tip for you: really, really try it out. It took me about a week, maybe two weeks of full-time usage before I got comfortable with all of the things that were in an unfamiliar place in the IDE. It can be frustrating at first and I did a bit of Googling of where Visual Studio features could be found in Rider. However, a few years on, Rider has improved a lot to make the transition easier as well.

If you want to get started just a bit faster, you could import my exported settings, this is how I've configured Rider to be more comfortable coming from Visual Studio, there's not a lot of changes to default Rider, but just enough little tweaks to make it feel a bit nicer.

I'd love to hear how you get on, feel free to ping me on the Umbraco Discord in the #non-umbraco-coding channel. I can't promise I'll have all the answers, but I might just know the little trick get you past some friction.

Sebastiaan Janssen
Sebastiaan Janssen