Firs of let me tell what I have been upto lately. I am heads down working on the cool new Visual SDK 2005. I am pretty sure you folks have downloaded it and found it useful. Believe me it only gets better. Now that we are very close to Release of Visual Studio 2005 and the SDK I will be more regular with my posts.

Over last year and half I have received numerous emails from all of you. While the Dr. and his cohorts have tried their best to respond to everyone we want to apologize if we haven't been able to respond to a few of you. And yes Thank you for all those nice comments and remarks.

Anyway, here is what I plan to do next. I intend to start a series of what I will call "From VSIP Diaries...". These posts will be very targeted How To topics that will help you get answers to some very mundane VSIP tasks. I hope you will find it useful. Stay tuned. Let me know if you have any favorites that you want me to answer.

Ok while I am at it let me answer some questions on an area that has very little information available. Many of of you have asked about VSA and its future. So here it goes. 

What's up with VSA?

Application customization technology is an important part of Microsoft’s developer offering, which currently includes both VSA and VBA. Additionally, application customization continues to be an important part of our strategy, and to that end we have just announced Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA). VSTA now replaces VSA as the technology ISVs will use to provide customization capabilities in their applications.

What happened to VSA?

VSA was a thin-client, server-driven alternative to VBA built on Visual Studio.  The server approach was viewed by ISVs as less useful than a rich-client model, so based on their feedback, Microsoft began development of VSTA.  There are ISV’s successfully using VSA today, but we found that its applicability was limited.  Some of the technology developed for VSA is incorporated within VSTA.  VSTA application customization takes better advantage of rich client functionality than VSA, offering a highly optimized environment for application customization on both the client and the server.

What is VSTA?

VSTA is a .NET-based application customization technology designed to be embedded into applications and enables developers to create custom experiences on top of those applications. VSTA enables independent software vendors (ISVs) to provide extensible software solutions with a minimum amount of effort. VSTA consists of an IDE that ISVs can use to build VSTA support into an object model they can expose in their application, a runtime engine, and an end-user IDE that communicates with the object model. VSTA fully supports the .NET Framework, including the VB .NET and C# programming languages.  VSTA includes a software development kit (SDK) that allows ISVs to integrate a customer interface object model into their applications and an end-user IDE incorporating VB .NET and C#.

VSTA licensing will soon be available through the Visual Studio Industry Partner Program (VSIP). For more information, please contact VSTA Information at vstatrin@microsoft.com or visit http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/extend/vsipoverview/.

Hope that helps.

Dr. eX