.NET Reflector is a tool for browsing and decompiling the contents of compiled .NET assemblies. Originally created by Lutz Roeder and subsequently purchased by Red Gate software, it has always (until now) been a free utility. .NET Reflector was the first .NET assembly browser. The new Dot NET Reflector Pro extends Reflector technology to enable developers to debug third-party code even if they don’t have the source code for it.
.NET Developers use its’ name as a verb, as in ‘let’s reflector it’. What they mean is to browse and investigate the assemblies that comprise the code with a tool that is capable of showing what’s there, and how classes, methods, or entire assemblies relate to each other, within the context of the application.
.Net Reflector tool allows disassembling and debugging of Dot NET applications directly from the application assemblies. Once .NET Reflector is combined with add-ins, it can become a tool to facilitate testing and make team-working more effective. There have been many occasions when Dot NET Reflector has assisted in the recovery of source code after it has been lost.
Benefits of .Net Reflector:
1..NET Reflector gives you the means to inspect, analyze, and browse the contents of a .NET component, such as an assembly. It will show you the metadata, IL instructions, resources and XML documentation.
2..Net Reflector tool can disassemble the instructions into source code in a variety of .NET languages, and translates the other binary information into an intelligible form. It does this through a process called ‘reflection’, which retrieves information about the various classes, methods, and properties included in a particular assembly and hence the name of the tool.
3. .NET Reflector is used to track down performance problems and bugs. It is great for browsing classes, and maintaining, or becoming familiar with, code bases
4. .Net Reflector provides an Analyzer option, which can be used to find assembly dependencies, and even windows DLL dependencies.
5. .Net Reflector has the ability to cross-navigate related documentation (xmldoc), searching for specific types, members and references.
6. .Net Reflector provides another ability to convert your source between languages, such as C# and VB!
7. .NET Reflector has been designed to host add-ins to extend its functionality, many of which are open source. Some of this add-ins provide other languages that can be disassembled too, such as Power Shell, Delphi and MC++.
8. When you’re working on a large team-based project, .NET Reflector is often the quickest way of getting a clear insight into how the application is working and where the bugs and weaknesses are.