There’s a little tool that’s been around for years but still largely unknown outside the software engineering space-the legendary Linqpad by Perth based engineer/author Joseph Albahari.
It’s been described as a software utility targeted at .Net development but it does so much more including helping thousands of developers and engineers across the globe each day with prototyping, learning and discovery.
Why do developers love it? Apart from rapid prototyping many of our software applications and query tuning for LINQ in a lightweight standalone environment (files based as opposed to solution based in Visual Studio), its greatest feature is it lets you discover many of the properties of the objects you’re dealing with through the legendary .Dump(). It lets you visualise and learn about what you’re dealing with and that is extremely powerful.
But beyond this and what your typical software engineer does is what I recently realized from a BI perspective and the reason I’m using it more and more these days-its ability to let you work with today’s latest cloud based, web based and data based (including Big Data) technologies in a simple but powerful lightweight tool: Relational, NoSQL, Exchange Web Services (Outlook server), Googles Mail, Calendar, Essbase and other Web Services, Atlassian REST API, Tableau REST API, Googles API (Analytics, Big Query etc), Amazon Web Services, MongoDB, Azure Data Lakes, Office APIs, OData, Azure Table Storage, Cassandra, Entity Framework, LINQ to SQL, all types of SDKs, it does it all and more in a quick and lightweight fashion. Is like writing SQLs in Toad or Management Studio except you’re writing queries in .Net (C#/F# or VB.net)
If you follow technology, one thing that should be obvious is the rising use and value of APIs-the API economy (anyone see Mulesoft’s IPO?). Why wait for data to come to you when you can go to the data at the source. Being able to orchestrate different APIs together means enabling new business processes and models altogether. Linqpad helps you to do exactly that. You can certainly do all that in Visual Studio and other tools but nothing comes close to the convenience afforded and nothing teaches the inner workings of a new API like Linqpad-there’s a community of followers for a reason.
Interestingly, the closest thing to Linqpad is Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code which was released about two years ago. While that was great, it lacked the best features that’s in the Linqpad, most important of all, the dump. The other issue is many still can’t access the libraries behind many corporate firewalls.
Joseph calls it “The .Net Programmer’s Playground”, Scott Hanselman calls it a “Fantastic Learning Tool”. I simply call it awesome and couldn’t agree more. Have a look-start here!
Below are some of the stuff we do and is only a tip of the iceberg on what’s others are doing. Google it or follow the community.
I really like this one (scroll down) on Googles Big Query, all the way from Japan.
Access NoSQL in the clouds: the interesting thing here is, you can query using either LINQ or SQL-straight from Microsoft.
Not sure what’s on the other end of that call is? Dump it out, here with Tableau REST API
SOAP Response from Exchange Web Services made a little easier.
I had to ask Joseph which library best showcases his little gem, he said these ones below. Not bad indeed.
But this from Erik Meijer takes the cake, enjoy.