Start Extending Visual Studio 2010!

Start Extending Visual Studio 2010!

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Visual Studio not only boasts a wide variety of tools to improve developer productivity, but it is also extremely extensible so that it can be tailored and customized to serve specifically your needs. In fact, one of the key benefits of Visual Studio 2010 is its improved extensibility story. With an easier deployment experience, more extensive yet simpler extensibility API, and ability to create advanced visuals directly on the Editor’s surface, you can extend Visual Studio more easily and quickly than ever before!

We have many great resources to help you get started with writing Visual Studio extensions:

  1. Visual Studio 2010 SDK (explore at MSDN) includes project templates to help you create tool windows, menu commands, isolated shell projects, and editor extensions. The SDK also includes build tasks to help you build and debug extensions.
  2. Visualization and Modeling SDK (explore at MSDN) provides tools and templates for building Visual Studio Domain Specific Language designers for Visual Studio 2010 and extending UML and Layer designers. By using this SDK, you can build your own graphical or form-based designers for Visual Studio 2010 and extend existing tools.
  3. Visual Studio Developer Center is the nexus for any Visual Studio related information. It links to downloads, explains how to write and publish your own extensions, hosts forums to discuss best practices and development issues, points to documentation on any and all Visual Studio features, and surfaces many other useful sources of information.
  4. Visual Studio Extensibility Code Gallery presents many Visual Studio 2010 code samples that illustrate how to write extensions. Examples include writing your own debug engine, language service, or custom source control, among many other Debugger, Editor, Shell, Project, and MSBuild samples.

We hope these resources will be of great help to you. As always, we are happy to hear your feedback. Please comment on this blog post to do so.


Luau in Hawaii

 Richa Prasad – Program Manager, Visual Studio Project Team

 Short Bio: I am a PM on the Visual Studio Project System team. I work on many Project features such as conversion, solution load, references, project properties and others. Prior to joining Microsoft, I was a graduate student at University of Washington.

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  • In a MSDN Magazine article Lisa Feigenbaum mentions

    a WPF extension for XML Comments in Visual Studio 2010.

    Article link:

    Do you have any info on that? Is it available as extension? If not, any guidelines/links/references?

    Thank you!

  • Thanks Richa! These are exactly the 4 things I was looking for... Bonus that the gallery contains a debug engine example!

    Keep up the amazing work, and keep blogging, useful for us that don't (or no longer) have the inside scoop like Microsoft people. :)

  • I would like to bring my MSTestGlider add-in to Visual Studio 2010 but this bug prevents me from doing so.

  • @Gilbert:

    The screenshots Lisa linked to are genuine (i.e. not mockups), but the extension they're demonstrating is more of a prototype.  We're hoping to clean it up, publish it as a .vsix, and make the code available as a sample at some point, but unfortunately it's not available today and I can't promise a specific timeline yet.

    Brittany Behrens

    Program Manager, VS Platform - Editor

  • Richa,

    I've inherited a VS 2005/2008 MPF project I'm trying to bring into VS 2010.  I'm having issues (with references not being found) since this older MPF is targeting .NET 2.0.

    I tried creating a new project, but it looks like MPF in VS 2010 only allows targetting .NET 4.  Am I missing something?



  • Hi Jeff,

    Yes, the MPFproj we ship with VS2010 targets .NET 4.0, in part to be able to target MSBuild's new object model.  This doesn't mean that your MPF-based project system cannot create projects that target .NET 2.0.  It just means that MPFproj10 project systems won't install on VS2008 and earlier.

    If you need an MPF that runs on older versions of VS, your best bet is to carefully upgrade your older MPF with some of the new code in MPF10 so that it uses the old MSBuild object model, targets .NET 2.0, but follows all the new project system rules that VS2010 requires.  I suggest you start a discussion over at if you need more help with this.

  • This could be borderline off-topic, but with Visual Studio 2010, is there anyway to, by default, have XML documentation (Project Properties > Build > Output > XML documentation file) turned on for new projects, by default?

    Perhaps some setting that I keep overlooking? There wasn't one in Visual Studio 2008 (unless I overlooked it there too), but it seems like there should be ...


  • Hello all,

    I'm trying to develope one addin for VS2010.

    But I can't figure out how to solve that problem:

    I want to open in the Editor one file present in the solution programmatically.

    So I tried to investigate how the macro behave, recording the action corresponding, during one action that simulate my expected behaviour.

    I found that code:

    'DTE.ActiveWindow.Object.GetItem("projectname\sito").UIHierarchyItems.Expanded = True

                   'DTE.ActiveWindow.Object.GetItem("projectname\sito\Files").UIHierarchyItems.Expanded = True

                   'DTE.ActiveWindow.Object.GetItem("projectname\sito\Files\Queries").UIHierarchyItems.Expanded = True



    First  I closed the macro recorder and I tried to run the macro, but nothing happened.

    Could you kindli help me?

    My main purpose is to have that code working inside one Addin.


    Mirko Ugolini

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