All the talk of Microsoft thawing lately to open source misses one detail: Microsoft has long hosted CodePlex, an extremely useful resource for open source projects aimed at Windows and Mircosoft’s server-side products. Here, developers can provide, free to the public, a diverse set of tools that enhance your experience with the Microsoft ecosystem.
CodePlex is no afterthought. It houses nearly 400,000 open source projects. If anything, it can be a bit overwhelming to keep on top of, even for the most seasoned Microsoft pros. The following 15 projects are some of my personal favorites. I consider them an essential part of any Microsoft IT pro’s toolbox. While this list leans more toward IT than development, know there are thousands of offerings that can benefit both IT and dev pros alike. Feel free to post your favorites to the comments.
Note: One thing to watch out for within CodePlex are “demo” copies of software that only demonstrate a product that you have to ultimately purchase from another site. Microsoft should do a better job of removing those kinds of entries from CodePlex, as that’s not the purpose of the site.