To be honest, I usually ignore the Toolbox column in MSDN Magazine. Usually it features various vendors’ offerings around .NET. The December 2007 issue is typical in that it features .netLIVEHELP ($395), Instant C#/VB ($179), and UltraMon ($39.95). November 2007 featured Spread for Windows Forms ($899), Peter’s Date Package ($90), and WinMerge (free). Previous issues are similar. I’m not commenting about the quality of the software, but more about the focus on commercial offerings.

Today I received the January 2008 issue in the mail (it’s not yet online) and flipped it open. The word “mocking” in the Toolbox column caught my eye and I thought, yet another advertisement for TypeMock. Then I did a double-take. Toolbox was featuring Rhino Mocks by Oren Eini (aka Ayende Rahien). The other features were MbUnit (free), JetBrains’ dotTrace ($499), and Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk. Both Rhino Mocks and MbUnit are open source tools. Although dotTrace is a commercial tool, it’s the best profiling tool that I’ve ever used – and I’ve tried a lot of them!* If you watched my MSDN webcast on tools, you’ll notice that I highly recommend all three tools. I hope that Toolbox’s new author, James Avery, keeps up the excellent work and continues to feature great open source frameworks alongside commercial offerings! Times, they are a-changing. Good open source software is starting to get the respect and recognition it deserves.

* To be honest, I’ve heard excellent things about Red Gate’s ANTS Profiler, but haven’t had a chance to try it and compare.