Today we released the Feature Builder Power Tool for Visual Studio 2010 Preview for RC on the Visual Studio Gallery. This power tool helps you easily create rich Visual Studio extensions which you can share with others on the Visual Studio Gallery. These extensions can include tools (Visual Studio automation), code (your sample code or binaries you wish to share with others) and a map (a set of steps your users will want to follow to get the best experience with your extension). You can use this power tool to quickly package up sample code with custom menus, or take the time to create complete automated guidance experiences targeted toward a specific technology.
You can create two different kinds of extensions using Feature Builder. A standard Feature Extension can contain tools, code, and a simple map - it will run on the Visual Studio Premium and Visual Studio Professional editions (in the final version of this tool). A more advanced extension, called an Ultimate Feature Extension, can contain everything a standard Feature Extension can contain, as well as rich modeling and visualization tools that can take advantage of the modeling features found inside the Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate edition (required). These tools can be used to provide a logical view of your target solution, and to visualize your existing code. This is the preferred type of extension to use if you intend to provide architectural guidance or share specific refactoring or pattern knowledge.
An introductory video (which includes a "hello world" example) is available on Channel 9: http://channel9.msdn.com/tags/FeatureBuilder .
Additional information and support will be available via the Visual Studio 2010 Architectural Discovery & Modeling Tools Forum
This tool was produced by the Visual Studio product group in collaboration with patterns & practices, the Developer Platform Evangelism group, and Microsoft Consulting Services.
An update to this power tool based on the RTM version of Visual Studio 2010 will be available after the RTM release.
If you have the RC build of Visual Studio 2010 installed, go ahead and take this Power Tool out for a test drive and get us your feedback!