Red Gate is a company that is widely known as a community company. I have yet to meet an individual that had anything bad to say about them, even if there are occasional complaints, whines or whatnot. Overall, the company really is one that we as a community are proud to plug based on our experiences with them. Tools like SQL Prompt, SQL Compare, SQL HyperBac and even the bundle, SQL Toolbelt, are tools that have helped the SQL Server professional push forward more efficiently by doing more with what they have available.
There is another product that is under Red Gate’s ownership called Reflector. Reflector is a tool that allows you to decompile almost anything .NET. Essentially, you can view the code that is behind .NET Assemblies. The really cool thing is you can plug an executable in and view the code as well.
Here’s a view of a program I wrote recently for an article based on troubleshooting ASYNC_NETWORK_IO
As you can see, I simply browsed to the executable that was built from the solution and expanded the methods and there you go. All of my code for that test is right there to analyze, troubleshoot or recreate in an attempt to learn from it.
So why is a DBA writing about this tool? As a DBA that believes in knowing a developers task as much as the task of being a DBA, I think it is critical to do just that. Also, it is a great way to recover lost code. Mind you; all of this is while minding the law and copyrights of other vendor and developer’s code.
There is an underlying reason for this article being written. Lutz Roeder was the creator of Reflector. Years ago when I found the free tool I was absolutely amazed at the real value in it for any person that works in the .NET and Microsoft camp. Around 2008, Lutz decided it was time to move on and reached an agreement with Red Gate to take over. Red Gate left Reflector available as a free version while adding a professional version allowing you to debug assemblies. That is a truly valued addition when you think about the applicable use of it.
Well, Red Gate decided that after version 7, Reflector will now cost $35. Yes, you read that correctly, and there will no longer be a free version of Reflector.
I see both sides to this announcement. One, Red Gate is a business entity and in order to manage and put resources into building Reflector along with tapping the power it may be able to grow into, they must pay for those resources. On the other hand, is $35 a lot to some people? Yes, of course it is. I don’t want to pay it as much as the next person. Will I? I’m not even sure about that just yet. Depends on if the use of Reflector will be of value to me at the time I go calling on it again.
The point I’m trying to make is: Red Gate is a business and as such, is out to make a return on their products. Business decisions are made in the best interest of the business. Are those business decisions always right?
Was the Renault Alliance a good car to manufacture by American Motors? Who knows? Maybe if they didn’t go that route they would still be around though.
Do you think you get what you pay for in a Lamborghini and the cost goes to making the next one even better? Yes, more than likely that is a good call.
I do know that Red Gate is respected for making some good decisions and I’ll stand behind them on this for now. I may put too much trust in them that the product will not jump to $335 next year or in five years but I do put that trust there, given the relationship (myself as part of the community) have built between Red Gate and the Community.