The VSTA CTP is now available, but how do you get it?  As you can guess I wouldn't need to blog about it if it was as easy as clicking on a link. A little understanding of what VSTA is and how it is distributed will help clear up some confusion about how to get it. First VSTA allows you to create managed customizations (add-ins) for your application. It includes a runtime and a embedded IDE (light weight version of Visaul Studio). VSTA also includes tools, samples and documentation for integrating VSTA with your application. All of this functionality is delivered as a part of the Visual Studio SDK. The reason that it is distrubuted as part of the VS SDK is that VSTA is built on VS and there are many things in the VS SDK that help you with VSTA, like Help Studio lite for example. We are working together with the VS SDK team to make this process a little smoother. But until then, one other thing to understand is that the VS SDK grew from and is part of the Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program. So you may see references to the VSIP SDK, this is just the old name. You must also register as a free VSIP affiliate member and have a passport account.

How to download VSTA
1. Register / login as an VSIP affiliate member.
2. Click on download files link
3.Choose the version of the SDK you wish to download.
for example Visual Studio 2005 SDK - February 2006

You can also just click directly on the file download link here Visual Studio 2005 SDK - February 2006 . This will either take you to the login or registration page and then download the VS SDK directly.

Getting Help and Support
If you have questions about VSTA please post them here:
Visual Studio Extensibility Forum
Discuss customization, extension, and integration with Visual Studio, including macros, add-ins, starter kits and the Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) SDK.

A good tip is to prefix your forum post title with "VSTA:" for example "VSTA: How do I get started" this will help the VS SDK team forward VSTA issues more quickly to the VSTA team.

Paul Stubbs
Program Manager