As I announced at the Office Developers Conference in San Jose this week, we’re releasing a set of power tools that complement the developer’s experience when building Office-based or VSTA-based solutions. These tools are freely downloadable here. We’re releasing these tools independently of our normal Visual Studio release cycle – even though in many cases we are considering rolling them into Visual Studio itself in a later release.
These tools are unsupported – if we wanted to officially support them, we’d have to invest a lot more resources in thorough implementation and testing. If we were able to invest the required level of resources, we would most probably have included them in the product in the first place. So, it’s a delicate balance: they’re unsupported because we couldn’t test them very thoroughly – but on the upside, this does allow us to release them outside the normal VS release schedule. Here’s a summary of the tools in this release:
Type of Tool
Open XML Package Editor
A graphical treeview-based editor for examining and editing Open XML Package files (including Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents).
Add-in to Visual Studio.
Ribbon IDs ToolWindow
A custom tool window that displays all re-usable built-in Office Ribbon IDs.
Office Custom UI Manager
A set of classes for coordinating multiple instances of Ribbon, custom task pane, and custom form region objects.
Runtime class library source code.
Office Interop API Extensions
A set of C# classes for handling parameterized properties and optional/named parameters, as well as for LINQ-enabling Office collection objects.
Runtime class library.
SharePoint Feature Sweeper
A GUI tool that cleans up unwanted SharePoint features from the developer's environment.
Standalone Windows Forms application.
SharePoint Workflow Package Generator
A tool to package a SharePoint workflow project so that it can be deployed.
VSTO/VSTA Pipeline Verifier
A GUI tool that reflects over custom pipeline assemblies to validate the complete VSTA pipeline.
VSTO Developer Cleaner
A GUI tool that removes leftover build artifacts from the developer's computer.
A diagnostic tool that examines a computer for the necessary pre-requisites for running VSTO solutions.
We’re obviously very interested in getting customer feedback for these tools, including any bugs that surface – and even though they’re unsupported, we will do our best to accommodate feature requests and bug fixes in any later updates to the tools. We’re hoping that this strategy of releasing independent tools will allow us to respond in a more timely fashion to identified customer requirements.