5 Weeks of ASP.NET Weekly Tools and Libraries - Part 1

4 minute read

I publish a weekly newsletter for ASP.NET Developers called ASP.NET Weekly which contains a curated list of the best ASP.NET related content I came across during the previous week.

Each week I feature a tool or library which I think ASP.NET developers will find useful. This is the first part in a 5 part series of blog posts during which I will recap all the tools and libraries I featured during the past year.

I re-publish these with the exact descriptions I used in the newsletter, so see my commentary in that context…

1. Visual Studio Web Essentials

This one should already be in every web developer’s toolkit, but if you were not aware of the Visual Studio Web Essentials toolkit then be sure to check it out. I will quote directly from their website:

Web Essentials extends Visual Studio with a lot of new features that web developers have been missing for many years. If you ever write CSS, HTML, JavaScript, TypeScript, CoffeeScript or LESS, then you will find many useful features that make your life as a developer easier.

2. FluentMVCTesting

I came across this library in the past week and have already gotten amazing value from it. It makes unit testing of ASP.NET MVC controllers so much easier, with handy extension methods to check whether your controller returns the correct HTTP Status, redirects to the correct page, return certain content and a whole lot more.

3. Hover

From the website: “A collection of CSS3 powered hover effects to be applied to links, buttons, logos, SVG, featured images and so on. Easily apply to your own elements, modify or just use for inspiration. Available in CSS, Sass, and LESS.”

4. Materialize

If you are ready to jump on the Material Design bandwagon then check out Materialize. It is a CSS framework based on Material Design. I am using it in my OAuth for ASP.NET website as well.

5. Hangfire

Hangfire is an open source .NET library which allows you to very easily run background or scheduled tasks in a reliable fashion in your ASP.NET application. It also has a user interface for monitoring tasks, supports a wide range of persistent storages (such as SQL Server, Redis, MongoDB and more) and their documentation is top notch!

6. A better looking Bootstrap

Do you like Bootstrap but want something a little bit more professional without spending money on a professional theme? This week I am highlighting two CSS libraries which can give a more professional look to your website without spending any money.

The first one is Drunken Parrot UI Kit from the guys at Hoarrd. Don’t let the name fool you - their styling of the standard Bootstrap components is really good.

The second one is Flat UI from the guys at DesignModo. Also gives a very professional looking flat styling to your Bootstrap-based website.

Both these products have paid versions as well which you can upgrade to but if you are just looking for something simple then the free versions will suit you just fine.

7. FluentBootstrap

Continuing on the Bootstrap focus from last week, this week I would like to introduce you to FluentBootstrap. It provides HTML Helper classes and model binding which allows you to easily integrate Bootstrap classes and components into you project. No longer do you have to concern yourself with which classes or HTML constructs to use as FluentBootstrap will take care of all that for you.

8. Semantic UI

The past couple of weeks I have highlighted Bootstrap related libraries. But what if you are starting to suffer from Bootstrap fatigue and are looking for another alternative? If that is the case I would suggest that you give Semantic UI a go. It is a fully featured CSS framework which probably contains everything you will need for most applications you want to develop.

9. Swagger.Net

For those of you who are not familiar with it, Swagger allows you to create beautiful documentation for your RESTful API. Not only does it render documentation for your API, but it also allows you to give users of your API an easy way to test API calls. Swagger.Net is a Nuget package which allows you to automatically generate Swagger compatible documentation from your ASP.NET Web API controllers, saving you the hassle of creating the Swagger documentation by hand.

10. Glimpse

Glimpse is a debugging and diagnostics tool for ASP.NET developers. If you develop ASP.NET applications then this is one of the first Nuget packages you should install, as it provides a detailed look at what is happening under the covers with your application. Towards the end of last year Rick Anderson from Microsoft wrote a blog post entitled Profile and debug your ASP.NET MVC app with Glimpse so I suggest you start there in understanding some of the capabilities of this great package.

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