I have not been making too many posts here, mostly because I have had my head down working on some new, secret tools for the past few months. Now I can talk about them because today at TechEd we announced what that new tool is, Visual Studio Shell Isolated. That is one of those fancy, descriptive names that Microsoft marketing gives to something that is quite simple, but at the same time powerful. Over the years many people have been creating packages and Add-ins for Visual Studio, but if anybody wanted to use your package, they had to have a copy of Visual Studio (pro or above) installed on their computer or you had to license what we called the PPE (or “Premier Partner Edition” – another beautiful name) and it was not exactly cheap.

What I have been working on is allowing you to, by building a small exe program and editing an even smaller text file that looks like a .reg file, create your own application which consumes the Visual Studio shell. Your program is branded with your company name and logos in any way that you wish, the only place that any Microsoft logo appears is on the splash screen where on the bottom right we put the text “Powered By Visual Studio”. And best of all – it is free!!! You can also distribute the PPE version of Visual Studio Shell, for free!!!

Over the next few posts I will be making a series of postings about how to get started, the tools available, how to distribute your applications, architecture, which version is best for you, etc.