JetBrains Rider vs Visual Studio 2019

After using Rider for a day I just can’t go back to using Visual Studio 2019 + ReSharper combo. No matter how much you tweak it, it is still going to be very slow, especially for larger solutions.

I’m not someone who’s using a 5 year old notebook, my whole PC is build around being able to develop faster (almost), hence all my primary SSDs are the fastest M.2 drives around: C:\ 1TB, D:\ 2TB – SEAGATE FIRECUDA 520 GEN 4 PCIe NVMe (up to 5000MB/R, 4400MB/W) – I never saw anything faster than that on the market yet.

My PC Specs

In addition I have 128GB of RAM (DDR4 3200MHz) and AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 32 Core CPU (3.7GHz – 4.5GHz, 147MB CACHE) which isn’t the fastest CPU around and I could have gone for the 64 core variant but that would be way over the top, since my overall CPU usage never goes up above 3%! while using VS 2019

CPU usage jump to 25% when starting Visual Studio and peaked at 87% while doing a rebuild on a large project PS: this is the first time I saw my CPU utilisation so high
Can’t resist any opportunity to show off my PC 🙂

The reason I deviated from conformity is because I had to modify .NET Framework version in several projects. Doing it in VS 2019 is extremely painful, in Rider you click and edit. It’s not slow, you don’t have to wait at all.

Where Rider is at its best

Here are some of the Rider features which I liked the most:

  • Rider = IntelliJ IDEA + ReSharper Rider comes with all the goodies of ReShaper without the performance tax. For the developers who cannot live without ReSharper, this can be huge.
Rider = IntelliJ IDEA + ReSharper
  • Faster build time: Rider can improve the build time drastically as compared to Visual Studio by applying heuristics to only build the projects that need to be updated. It can be a real performance booster for large solutions.  This post explains the incremental build feature in details.

Note: This feature was already available with ReSharper Build. So, if you are using ReSharper build instead of Visual Studio build management, then you might be already familiar with this. 

  • Seamless external source debugging: One of the features I liked about Rider was debugging external libraries/ nuget packages seamlessly like they are part of your code. And when you do not need to debug external source, you can turn off the feature.
Enable external source debug option
  • First-class support for Typescript/ Javascript debugging: I always felt Typescript/Javascript received a stepchild treatment in Visual Studio. With Rider, Typescript has first-class debugging support. You can debug within the IDE without switching to browser dev-tools.
  • Better Unit test experience: I have been a fan of ReSharper Unit test explorer window. And Rider only takes this forward. You can create multiple test window sessions and run only a subset of tests.
  • Great Git plugin: It would be an understatement to say that Rider’s Git plugin is better than Visual Studio. It offers the code analysis even during the merge, which can be huge since you can fix compile-time error or remove unused references at the time of merge.
  • Handling of large solutions: It is reasonable to expect that loading a large solution will take time. With Visual Studio, I encountered UI getting hanged several times during the project startup. Rider, on the other hand, handles it more gracefully. Like ReSharper, there is also an option to disable solution wide code analysis which can improve the load time.
  • Project Properties:  The project properties dialog in Rider supports the latest features of the new SDK project such as multi-target, setting language version, Nuget properties etc.
Project properties options in Rider
  • Event Log, Terminal window, create gist etc.: Rider comes up with an Event log window which the logs every event that happens with in the IDE. It also has a built-in Terminal and some excellent little features such create GitHub Gists from within the IDE. One other thing that impressed me was the ability to create custom “Run/Debug” templates. It offers much more than running a single project or “Multiple startup projects” option in Visual Studio.

There are some issues around NuGet handling but at the same time there are so many issues in VS 2019.

All of this was enough to buy a license

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