What's the Only Major Visual Studio Extension with a Perfect Rating?
.NET developers have long availed themselves of a wealth of functionality -- mostly free -- from the Visual Studio Marketplace, but only one major offering has earned a perfect 5.0 rating above a certain threshold of reviews.
The Visual Studio Marketplace has thousands of "extensions available for the Visual Studio family of products," which includes the flagship IDE, the Visual Studio Code editor and Azure DevOps.
The extensions -- in categories of controls, templates and tools -- range from tiny individually published helper tools to commercially backed, full-blown offerings covering a large range of functionality, downloaded by the tens of millions.
The marketplace ranks Visual Studio IDE extensions by several criteria, including featured, trending, most popular and highest rated. That latter ranking reveals only one extension with a perfect 5.0 rating above a certain threshold of reviews: PostSharp from PostSharp Technologies.
This "aspect-oriented framework for .NET" is described as "the #1 pattern-aware extension to C# and VB. It allows developers to eradicate boilerplate by offloading repeating work from humans to machines. Includes some the most common patterns and gives you the tools to build your own."
Aspect-oriented programming is said to complement object-oriented programming via the separation of cross-cutting concerns, which increases modularity of code.
The free extension has been installed 357,837 times as of this writing, earnings its perfect 5.0 rating from 295 reviewers, who have posted comments such as:
I am using PostSharp from first version and it helped in many ways like e.g.
- to improve existing code
- to rapid start new projects
- to ensure architectural and infrastructural constraints
Sometimes it even helped to convince the customer (as best AOP framework for .NET) and to get the contract. I also influenced many of my colleagues to consider AOP and they now use PostSharp as well.
PostSharp is improving with each version and now, with .NET Core support it is unbeatable.
Several other extensions have received perfect 5.0 ratings, but with fewer numbers of reviews. While there's no easy way to tell what the threshold is for the marketplace's ranking system, other 5.0 offerings have received review numbers such as 46, 25, 24, 26 and so on. And the vast majority of those list far fewer downloads than the nearly 358K for PostSharp (one notable exception is Clear MEF Component Cache from Microsoft's Mads Kristensen, with a 5.0 rating from 25 reviewers, sporting 374K downloads).
We've covered many different kinds of marketplace extensions in a regular series of Visual Studio Toolbox articles, which you can find here. The most recent, from June, is 18 New Tools and Extensions for Visual Studio.
Other highlights include:
Developers who want to take a stab at building their own extensions can find guidance here.
David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.