S. Somasegar is the corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. Learn more about Somasegar.
By providing extensions to your application functionality and in turn allowing 3rd party developers to consume your public API's, you create an ecosystem that developers love and more importantly creates value to the customer/consumer. As a platform company at heart, this has definitely been a core part of our strategy at Microsoft.
In the Developer Division, we offer extensibility in Visual Studio, through the Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program and the Visual Studio Automation Object Model. Coincidentally, we have a VSIP summit started today where we have over 150 VSIP partners from around the world in Redmond for the next few days to have an open, two-way dialog with the product team.
Offering a platform solution that enables you to offer .Net extensibility in your applications is a critical feature we have been working on for some time. We call this offering the System Add-in model. This model is also a part of how you can ensure your application may version independently of your third party Add-in's. This is area that we will continue to innovate in.
If you plan to offer extensibility in your product, or you want to extend an existing application and you are interested in dynamic components, version resilience, isolation, and unloadability in managed code, then you should look into the System Add-in model. Jack Gudenkauf, who works in the CLR team, has posted several blog entries on the subject. If you have any feedback on this subject, please send it on to Jack.