I have developed both downloadable and online tools in the past. In most cases, to try out some new technology. It's an approach I've continued on my work on elmah.io. Having active users that you have (and love) to support, I get a perfect overview of what kind of problems people are having. Besides helping existing users, free tools also tend to attract new traffic and potential users.
With this knowledge, I have developed a range of tools over the last couple of years, and I expect the list to grow. This post is an overview of the tools I've built and a bit of history behind each tool.
Someone already asked me why most of the tools are for ASP.NET/MVC/Web API and not ASP.NET Core, which is the future. Well, a lot of projects still run on the old platform, why the tools are still valid. I expect similar tools for ASP.NET Core in the future.
Back in 2016, I built a tool to validate the ELMAH configuration inside peoples
Web.config files. The tool would let people paste the content of their config file and tell if the
<elmah> element where valid. In time, people started to visit the tool from Google, looking to validate the entire
Web.config file. Without that option, people were leaving the site frustrated. In 2018 I changed that and re-launched the tool as a full-fledged Web.config validator.
Web.config Transformation Tester
A lot of other issues people have are around Web.config transformations. There's a great plugin for Visual Studio, and there is also the AppHarbor tool. I wanted something online with the feature set of the Visual Studio extension that I could point to when people had problems. The Web.config Transform Tester where born.
Stack Trace Formatter
I was tired of looking at poorly formatted stack traces on StackOverflow and in support threads on elmah.io, why I decided to create the .NET stack trace formatter. The tool is formatting stack races in the browser using the netStack.js library that we developed and open-sourced on elmah.io. The tool also supports copying a formatted stack trace as Markdown and generating screenshots for your blog.
Much like the Web.config Validator, the Appsettings.json Validator is a tool to help test both the JSON syntax in ASP.NET Core
appsettings.json files as well as the content itself. The tool uses a custom JSON schema that I have made publicly available here to make sure that people (and myself) write correct configuration.
Multiline String Converter
I constantly find myself having to insert multiline strings into C# files. This could be a stack trace for a test, a user description for a data loader, or similar. Prepping multiline data for insertion in C# has always been sort of a pain. You either insert newline characters, split the string in multiple strings and concatinating them with
+ or use the verbatim string operator in C#. With the Multiline String Converter I have made it easy to convert a multiline string to code that can be directly pasted into a C# file.
JSON Formatter and Validator
I know, there are like 50K JSON formatters and validators out there. And while this is built into Visual Studio and Code, I often find myself using an online tool. On issue that I always have when doing so, is the fear of a tool formatting server-side or even worse, store and share my JSON with someone else. I never paste JSON with sensitive information, but it's always in the back of my mind anyway. That's why I built this JSON Formatter and Validator that does everything in the browser.