I've heard people talking about this new Integrated Development Environment (IDE) called Rider and I wanted to know what it was, so I decided to ask my friend Jamie Taylor from dotnetcore.gaprogman.com

What is Rider?

Rider is a new IDE by JetBrains. If you've ever used IntelliJ Idea, PyCharm, WebStorm of ReSharper (or any of their other products, and they make a lot of them) then you should recognise their name.

What type of projects can I use it on?

Anything which is written in .NET Framework, .NET Core or is Mono based, basically. This means that you can use Rider to work on .NET (both .NET Framework and .NET Core) desktop applications, services and libraries, ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core web applications, Unity games, and Xamarin apps.

So, basically anything in the .NET eco system.

Is it free?

For businesses and individuals, not so much. You can currently can access get Rider as part of a yearly or monthly subscription, but it's also included in JetBrains' All Products Pack.
JetBrains do have discounts and cheaper licences, though. I'd recommend taking a look at their discounted licences page for more information.

psst, if you're going to use it for Open Source software only, they have a free licence which you can apply for

Why should I use it over Visual Studio?

It's incredibly fast. Especially if you currently use Visual Studio, ReSharper and a bunch of plugins. Seriously, it's really fast and has all of the features that you would expect from the other IDEs that JetBrains make (debugger, unit tests, version control hooks, etc.)

Is it cross platform?

Indeed it is. I currently run Rider on both my Ubuntu Linux 16.04 and MacOs High Sierra machines, and I can seemlessly move between them to develop my open source applications. The features included in the Windows version of Rider are available on both the Linux and MacOs builds, too.

One caveat for Linux and MacOs though: you may need to install Xamarin, Mono and other frameworks separately in order to build .NET Framework projects on those platforms.

Another caveat is that version 2017.1 of Rider doesn't support .NET Core 2.0 (psst, .NET Core 2.0 is out, right now).

However, when I reached out to the Rider team about when we can expect .NET Core 2.0 support, they said it would be very soon 

Are there any other benefits to using it which you haven't mentioned?

  • Rider has a lot of the features of ReSharper built in (for example, refactorings, code analysis, navigation) - these are all covered by the Rider licence. But, if you open your wallet to the "ReSharper Ultimate + Rider" or "All Products Pack" not only do you get a Rider licence, you also get the Rider Visual Studio plugin.
  • The plugin system for Rider is based on the plugin system for WebStorm, so there are hundreds of plugins already available.

For a more detailed look at Rider (based on one of the Early Access builds), check out an article I wrote back in May.

Jamie Taylor

A .NET developer specialising in ASP.NET MVC websites and services, with a background in WinForms and Games Development. When not programming using .NET, he is either learning about .NET Core (and usually building something cross platform with it), learning about other programming languages, or writing for his non-dev blog

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