As we come close to shipping VS 2008 SDK V1, I would like to talk a little about the future of the VS SDK and the plans we have around supporting the extensibility community.

We have been focussing a lot on the samples and tooling to make it easier for extenders to use the VSIP APIs and consume the VS SDK but now we are going to be changing the focus to build Tools for Tools. What this means is that we want to make it create Tools that make it easy for the VSX extenders to create the developer tools for the end users.

It has been challenging for the VSX community to create extensions and deploy these extensions. It is also tricky migrating extensions from previous versions of Visual Studio to a later version. VS Shell introduces another layer of complexity in sharing extensions. We are now taking this challenge and will try to provide solutions tha will make some of these tasks easier in future.

Make it easier to create extensions
–VSX DSL for defining packages containing commands, tool windows etc.
–Generate the skeleton code from a VSX definition
–Similar to experience that DSL Tools offers for creating DSLs

Make it easier to test and debug extensions
–Generate test stubs from a VSX definition
–Specialized inspectors to view the state of extensions during debugging

Make it easier to deploy extensions
–VSX Setup DSL to define set of VSX assets to be deployed
–Experience to get a PLK from within VS
–Experience to upload/list your extension on online catalog

Make it easier to migrate extensions between versions of VS
–Exploit VSX DSL and code generation

Make it easier to customize the VS Shell
–Specialized designers for customizing the shell 

Let me know what you think about these ideas and challenges that we are taking on!