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Visual Studio Extensibility got easier

Let’s make a small introduction first:

Visual studio provides three levels of extensibility:


·        
Macros


o  
Macros are not new and we know them from Office


·        
Add-ins


o  
This is the next level in the VSX hierarchy, it provides more powerful extensibility points and full control of the Visual Studio Automation Object model


·        
Packages


o  
This is the last level in the VSX hierarchy, it provides more power and flexibility than the Visual Studio Automation Object model

Packages:

Creating a VS Package is not a simple task and the beginning it was only for C++ experienced developers.

With the inclusion of the Manage Package Framework (MPF) developing a Vs Package got easier because MPF allows a VSX developer to extend VS using managed code.

But in my opinion a set of tools on top of the MPF were missing. A set of tools that provide a higher level of abstraction, guidance, best practices and code generation to support the creation on VSX assets, a set of tools that can make the learning curve really low and most important a set of tools that can boost your productivity.

VSSDK Assist to the rescue:

A couple of months ago I started on codeplex a project named VSIPFactory. This project was the beginning of this vision.

It then became VSSDK Assist and the current version provides an initial toolset of utilities that allow a VSX developer to:

Create:


·        
VS Package solution


·        
VS Package project


·        
VS Services


·        
VS Tool Windows


·        
VS Commands


·        
VS Tool Options Pages


·        
Subscribe to VS Events

Configure:


·        
VS Package


·        
VS about/splash screens

Deploy:


·        
Configure VS Package Load Key


·        
Create VS Package Deployment Information

Test:


·        
Create VS Package Load Key Report


·        
Test VS Package Load Key


·        
Test VS Splash Screen

Utility:


·        
Register VS Packages


·        
Unregister VS Packages


·        
Refresh VS Package Registration Information


·        
Launch VS on Experimental Hive


·        
Browse your VS Package

Of course this is only the beginning, future versions will cover more and more Visual Studio Extensibility points.

So go and download it J

Pablo

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