A really cool new feature for Visual Studio 2008 is the Toolbox Controls Installer which as the name implies, allows you to add controls to the toolbox. It's much easier than some of the previous VS package type work you used to need to do.
There is a great sample in the Visual Studio SDK 2008 that shows you how to add a Windows Forms control, Web Control and WPF control to the toolbox programmatically. The sample is called "Controls" -- and includes a WPF control and design time that may be familiar to those of you who have been reading my blog. (I'm surprised at how much mileage some of my samples get!)
There is one caveat, in some of the online documentation that doesn't show the WPF example (it was added later), there is a missing registry value that is required to make this work:
<Registry Root="HKLM" Key="$(var.VisualStudioRegistryRoot)\ToolboxControlsInstaller\CustomControlLibrary, Version=126.96.36.199, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=1631b3e7a8fbcce5" Value="Litware Controls" Type="string"> <Registry Name="Codebase" Value="[#CustomControlLibrary.dll]" Type="string" /> <Registry Name="WPFControls" Value="1" Type="string" /> </Registry>
The "WPFControls" value above.
Very cool feature, really simplifies toolbox installation. Note: this is implemented in VS 2008 Beta 2.
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This is a horribly convoluted and utterly useless waste of time. A "toolbox controls installer" needs to be something component vendors can easily embed into their existing installers. This thing requires a separate product to be installed FIRST (the TCI) and that can't be seamlessly integrated into vendor's install files.
It's so sad that Microsoft has failed over 4 versions of Visual Studio to provide a simple API that a developer can use in their existing MSI files - that just works.
The best way is still using EnvDTE, which is itself nasty but thanks to the tireless efforts of certain community members on documenting its quirks, it remains reliable.
I believe the Toolbox controls installer is included with vs 2008.
How on earth does that help? Component vendors have to cater for Visual Studio 2002 upwards.
Is there a similar way to register Windows Phone 7 controls?