Alive v1.0 Released!

It’s been almost six months since we first announced Alive and we’ve been working hard building out features and fixing bugs. Today we’re excited to announce Alive v1.0 and with this release we’re finally able to offer a free 30 day trial. You can download Alive from the Visual Studio Gallery and start the trial from within Visual Studio.

To celebrate, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at how far we’ve come and how we got here.

Alive on May 15, 2015

Alive Today

It turns out just running the user’s tests is a challenge in itself. Our initial implementation was naive and simply looked for methods with [TestMethod] or [Fact] attributes. It didn’t respect the semantics of each test framework and was there only to offer a proof of concept. In v1.0 we’ve completely overhauled our test runners to respect properties like [TestCleanup] in NUnit and IClassFixture<T> in xUnit.

Alive originally bulk ran test cases from within the devenv.exe process. Suffice it to say this was not a good design choice. When you kick off a ten minute test run that’s allocating objects, you’re going to get quite a few visits from the garbage collector which happily freezes all the threads within devenv.exe.

Which leads to this:


Which leads to this:


We’ve since made the filtering of test cases optional and moved our bulk test runner out of process where it can’t directly interfere with Visual Studio.

New Features

You can run a method and then jump to called methods and use Alive on them, while still kicking off execution from the original method.

You can now run test methods directly, making it easy to start new sessions of Alive quickly.

Still work to be done

We’ve still got a lot a lot of work ahead of us and we’re not slowing down. Performance isn’t where we need it to be when working with large projects like Roslyn and a number of known bugs remain unsquashed. We’re planning to bring support to DNX projects in the next couple months. As ASP.NET vNext and DNX stabilize, they should become easier targets for us to hit.

We’ve also heard requests for support to be extended to Javascript, Java, Python and VB.NET. While we don’t have anything concrete to announce, we are planning to support a second language over the course of 2016.

Want more information on Alive? Check out our site at