Several of our VSIP partners have asked me if they can host their VSIX file on their own server and what would the user experience be?

To answer the first question, yes, you can host your VSIX file on your owner server.  It doesn’t have to live on the Visual Studio Gallery.  Customers who visit your website can download the VSIX file directly.  When prompted to Run or Save, they can run the VSIX or save it to disk and double click on it to start the install.  Both installation methods will use our out of process installer.  During the install of Visual Studio, we register the .VSIX file extension.  Anytime the .VSIX file extension launches, our out of process installer will take over and install the extension for you.  The look and feel will be a bit different from the main Visual Studio Extension Manager installation experience but it works just as well :)

If you’re an extender that can’t host your VSIX file on the Visual Studio Gallery, here are two suggestions to make sure your customers have a good experience with your product.

  1. Create an entry on the Visual Studio Gallery.  You can do this by:
    1. Click on the Upload button
    2. Select Tool and click Next
    3. Select “I would like to share a link to my tool”
    4. Enter the URL to your website (this can be a direct link to the VSIX or to a landing page for more information)
    5. Click Test Link to try it out
    6. Click Next
    7. Add meta data to your extension
    8. Click “Create Contribution”
    9. Click Publish

Once you’ve added the entry, your extension can now also be seen in the Extension Manager UI.  When someone tries to download the extension from the Extension Manager or the Visual Studio Gallery, they will be taken to the URL you directed them to.

2.    On your server, make sure you register the VSIX mime type.  Without this, when customers try download the VSIX file, IE may convert the file extension to .ZIP.  For more information on setting the mime types, check out this article or do a search on Bing :)

Quan To - Program Manager - Visual Studio Platform