This month's letter includes information about what the VS SDK team has been working on in the past month, what's new on team blogs, VSX community news, upcoming event news, and a preview of what's coming next month.

VB Support added to the VS SDK!

The VSX team is days (if not hours) away from releasing the VB Pack for the VS 2005 SDK (version 4.0). The VB Pack for the VS 2005 SDK includes VB language support for the output of wizards, documentation, and samples. We are in the process of doing final release testing and signoff of required release tools with the goal of having the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 SDK Visual Basic Pack RTW (release to web) soon. We will post a blog entry here on the VSX team blog once the download is available. Note: While VB support for the VS 2005 SDK is in the form of an independent add-on install, VB support for the upcoming VS 2008 SDK will be included (integrated in along with C++ and C# support).

VS Shell Isolated Development News

Deep Dubey posted a blog entry VS Shell Isolated Development summarizing the team's status on the VS 2008 Shell:

We are working actively to enhance the experience of package development for VS Shell Isolated SKU for the VS 2008 V1 VS SDK to be released to target VS 2008 RTM. This will make is easier to add new and existing VSIP packages to a VS Shell SKU. We will be adding support for creation of pkgdef files for the managed packages added to the SKU. The F-5 scenario will also be enhanced to detect the updated to the packages and automatically run the Setup for the SKU to re-create the registry hive for the SKU. We are currently investigating how to enable creation of pkgdef file for native packages. The packages will also support targeting VS Shell SKU to run integration tests added by the packages. This should help test the new packages added to the SKU and reduce the overall cost of testing the SKU.

Stay tuned for these enhancements planned for VS SDK V1 release for VS 2008!

VSX Team blog posts

While many team members blogs haven't been as active as usual due various internal priorities around the upcoming VS SDK for VS 2008, VS 2008 Shell, VB support for the SDK, and other, we do have Stuart Kent, Gareth Jones, and Steve Cook posting many entries on DSL tools topics. Aaron Marten posted a blog entry Why can't I show the "Add New Items" dialog in a WPF flavored project?. Some other team members have been blogging, already mentioned in other parts of this month's letter here. Expect to see more blogging from other team members in the coming months, and as always key highlights from team member blogs will be summarized in future monthly letters.

VSIP and VSX tag lines


We created tag lines for VSIP and VSX, which will be in a full page ad in the upcoming VSX CoDe Focus magazine next month as well as in other materials:
 

Reach millions of developers with your products.

http://msdn.com/vsip


Extend your development experience.

http://msdn.com/vsx


Upcoming events

Below are various events that the VSX team will be attending in the next few months, or hosting in the case of the VSIP summit, including names of various team members who will be at each event.

  • October VSIP Summit (Redmond, WA) - October 15 - 19 - (VS Ecosystem team and VSIP marketing team)
     
  • TechEd Europe (Barcelona, Spain) - November 5 - 9 (James Lau, Anthony Cangialosi, Doug Hodges, Stuart Kent, and others)
     
  • VS DevConnections (Las Vegas, NV) - November 5 - 8 (Ken Levy)
     
  • DevTeach (Vancouver, Canada) - November 26 - 29 (Ken Levy - VSX Keynote, other team members TBD)

VSX Keynote session at DevTeach 2007 Vancouver

The keynote session at DevTeach 2007 in Vancouver next month will be on VSX. The VSX team is very enthused about this opportunity to highlight the VSX story and future roadmap plans. DevTeach events are always well summarized online at Universal Thread Coverages.

VSX: Extending Your Developer Experience
Speakers: Ken Levy and guests

Visual Studio provides a great set of development tools out of the box, and extending your platform with additional functionality brings you the benefits of the expanding VS ecosystem. Fasten your seat belt and get ready for a demo-centric roller coaster ride touring the end to end story around extending Visual Studio. From adding free or commercial extensions to VS, to building your own simple extensions for your own use, to distributing integrated packages to others for free, to creating a business or commercial product for VS developers, to innovating applications based on the new VS Shell royalty and license free.

VSX, a shortcut name for Visual Studio Extensibility, represents the community which is a virtual and growing ecosystem that includes the VS SDK, all aspects of extending VS (packages, add-ins, macros, visualizers), .NET developers who extend VS, VSIP (Visual Studio Industry Partner) program companies, and the VS SDK team (also known as the VSX team or the VS Tools Ecosystem team).

Guest speakers will join in on the demo extravaganza on this scenic tour of VSX examples of extension topics for VS including collaborative, agile, XML tools, Windows Live, XNA, and general productivity. Join us as we kick of DevTeach Vancouver 2007 with a VSX concert taking VS to 11.

VS extension tip of the month: Community Content Installer Power Toys

Craig Skibo posted a blog entry Community Content Installer Power Toys - new location with (notice that the hosting service of the new file location is Windows Live SkyDrive):

Since Got Dot Net was closed down, I have not uploaded the power toys to a new location. I have received a few mail messages asking where they can be found so I thought I would try out the new SkyDrive service, and uploaded it there. You can download from http://cid-262f6eeac88c4916.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Public/Content%20Installer%20PowerToys.zip.

DSL Forum to merge into the VSX Forum

The DSL Forum (Visual Studio Team System - Domain-Specific Language Tools Forum) has been used to discuss the framework and tools for delivering domain-specific visual designers that plug into Visual Studio. Now that the DSL Tools team has merged into the VS Ecosystem team (also referred to as the VSX Team), we have decided to merge the DSL Forum into the VSX Forum. Gareth Jones posted an announcement about it in the DSL Forum:

Heads up - DSL Tools and Visual Studio Extensibility forums merging

Folks,

As many of you might have seen, the DSL Tools team has merged with the Visual Studio eXtensibility team.

We feel this is pretty exciting as we get to broaden the scope of DSL Tools to address using models to build all kinds of extensibility assets as well as just DSLs.

We expect to use these broader needs to drive DSL Tools' feature set forward as we follow our usual dogfooding process of building the tools using the tools themselves.

We also think it makes a lot of sense to merge the forums. Quite often questions in this forum have crossed over heavily with more general VSX topics like adding extra tool windows, creating rich experiences around the property grid, integrating with server explorer and working with PLKs. By merging, we can get all of the expert eyes in one place, both from the product group in Microsoft and the wider community.

We're planning to action this merge in about a week, preserving the content of both existing forums in the new place.

Hope to see you all on the other side.

Gareth Jones - Lead Developer - DSL Tools & Visual Studio eXtensibility [MSFT]

New How-to videos for VSX online

There are now How-do-I videos on the topic of VSX at "How Do I?" Videos for Visual Studio Extensibility. If you have ideas and suggestions for future topics for VSX screencast videos, send your feedback so we can review the suggestion and possibly add it to the list of future content.

Next month


In next month's letter, we will have details on the new VB Pack for the VS 2005 SDK, news on the new special VSX edition CoDe Focus magazine, VSX developer center web site updates, and additional community news. Also, we would like to start highlighting community blogs and specific blog entries that discuss VSX topics, so if you have a blog or a blog post on the topic of VSX, please send the link to me (klevy@microsoft.com) so it can possibly be included with a link in the next community letter.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please send your VS SDK feedback to us via vssdkfbk@microsoft.com, or post a technical question in the MSDN Forum for VSX. For VSX community ideas and feedback, feel free email me directly via klevy@microsoft.com or using the Email link on my blog.


Ken Levy
Program Manager
Visual Studio Tools Ecosystem
Microsoft
http://blogs.msdn.com/klevy
http://msdn.com/vsx