Stuart Kent - Building developer tools at Microsoft - @sjhkent
It seems that my blog entries and those of some of my colleagues (Steve, Jean-Marc, Gareth) are like London buses: you wait for ages and then three come at once. And I’m definitely the worst offender – that bus which breaks down all the time.
Anyway, the reason why we’ve been so lax is that we’ve all been desperately busy getting Visual Studio 2010 out the door.
So it’s really exciting to announce the availability of DSL Tools for Visual Studio 2010 Beta1, hot on the heels of Visual Studio 2010 Beta1 itself and the corresponding Visual Studio SDK. Jean-Marc has all the details. We have a page summarizing the new features.
Various members of the team will be following up with blogs and samples, and we look forward to your feedback: the good, bad and ugly (actually, I’m sure you’re all extremely eloquent, so I don’t expect any ugliness). We’ll keep you up to date through the DSL Tools Code Gallery page.
Gareth has been posting a lot about T4 over the past few months. In case you missed it, here’s a roundup of all his posts, in chronological order. Lots there to get your teeth into.
You can now try out the VS2010 features mentioned above with the release of VS2010 Beta1, VS2010 SDK Beta1, and VS2010 DSL SDK Beta1: see Dsl Tools for Visual Studio 2010.
I’ll also add one more link:
As you can see, T4 is getting popular!
And for VS2010 there’s more to come on top of the features that Gareth describes. Not available in Beta1, but in Beta2 we’ll be providing support for accessing models in T4 via the modelbus. This will enable text templates to access models created with the new UML designers in Visual Studio and more enterprise-scale orchestration of code generation.
In Visual Studio 2010 you’ll find a new extension manager that makes it much easier to package and deploy extensions to Visual Studio. Pedro has more information: Early Buzz on the VS SDK and Extension Manager, Introducing VS Extension Manager.
We’ve exploited this to deploy DSL Tools. Gone has the DSL Setup project which used WiX to create and MSI. Instead, a DSL authoring solution builds a VSIX package and uses that to install the DSL in the experimental instance of Visual Studio. But even better, to install the DSL in the main instance of Visual Studio, all you have to do is open the VSIX file in windows explorer and respond to the prompts. Restart Visual Studio and your DSL is installed! How easy is that?
I’ve captured all this on video.
I’m speaking at the Code Generation 2009 conference in Cambridge in June on the topic of Code-Centric or Model-Centric – Approaches to developing software.
Jean-Marc is also speaking on What’s new in the DSL Tools and T4 in Visual Studio 2010.
I’m really looking forward to going to this conference which is at the cutting edge of model-driven and code generation techniques. It will be great to meet up again with folks I haven’t seen for some time, especially colleagues I used to work with before I joined Microsoft.
And beware: “LATE BOOKING FEES APPLY FROM JUNE 1ST”
When we released DSL Tools for VS2008, the migration story from VS2005 was not great: basically we provided a sheet of manual instructions which led to a fragile and long-winded experience. This time we’ve done a lot better. In the VS2010 DSL SDK Beta1 you’ll find a migration tool that converts your projects and solutions for you automatically. We’ve been using this internally to convert samples, test projects and so on, and it does a lovely job. There are links to a video showing the tool in use, and some documentation on the Downloads tab of the DSL Tools Code Gallery. Life is good.