Pretty much every reference out there to VS Extensibility begins with an explanation of the various ways you can extend Visual Studio, and this blog will be no exception to that tradition. :-) What you really need to ask yourself before you dive into extending VS is “what do I want to add to the IDE”? Hopefully, your great new idea for turning VS .NET 2003 into your ideal development environment falls into one of the following scenarios:
If you answered 1 or 2 above, you can probably look into writing Macros for accomplishing your task. Depending on exactly what you require, an add-in might be more appropriate with choice 2 since they are easier to distribute if you want to hide your source code. If you answered choice 3, add-ins are the way to go since they allow you to create a custom wizard. (If the above options didn’t help you decide, also be sure to check this page out.) For more information on Automation (Macros) and Add-ins, I would suggest some of the following resources:
If you answered choice 4, welcome to the wonderful world of VSIP! I’ll be posting more in the future on getting started with VSIP and hopefully answer some of the questions you may have with writing your own packages.