Powertoys in the VSSDK

I received an email asking for a little more information on what exactly the Event Toaster Powertoy is and does. First, a little background information...

What gets installed with the Visual Studio SDK?

When you download and run the VSSDK install package, there are actually 3 MSI packages that get run:

  1. Core SDK (Samples, docs, assemblies, etc...)
  2. VS Powertoys
  3. Innovasys HelpStudio Lite

The 'Core SDK' is required and is all the basic stuff you would expect in a SDK. The other two components are presented as options to install at the end of the Core SDK installation. They are entirely optional and not required to develop VSPackages. However, HelpStudio Lite could be very beneficial to you if you're attempting to integrate help content.

So then what are the Powertoys?

The powertoys we ship are a series of add-ons which add small new features to Visual Studio. As of the July 2006 CTP, there are two Powertoys: Indexed Find and Event Toaster. Note that unlike the package samples, the Powertoys are installed to the main VS hive. We plan on adding more power toys to the SDK over the coming months.

What does Indexed Find do and how can I use it?

Indexed Find is a tool that uses the Indexing Service built into Windows to provide fast text searches over files in a directory. This is especially helpful for searching over folders with a lot of source code (e.g. the Managed Package Framework sources that are shipped with the SDK).

What is Event Toaster and how can I use it?

After installing the power toys, you may notice that every time you launch Visual Studio 2005, a small toaster icon appears in the system tray. This is the notification icon provided by event toaster. This power toy allows you to perform an action (e.g. playing a WAV file, showing a balloon, running a VS macro, etc…) when a given event happens in Visual Studio. The options can be configured from the standard Tools-Options dialog under Powertoys/EventToaster/General. You can also disable the event toaster from here.