Holiday Toys from the Visual Studio Ecosystem Team

Especially now that Ken's on the team, I have a real interest in the cool stuff people do by extending the Visual Studio shell. I got this note just before the holidays and have had it tagged "Blog This" for the last few weeks. Check it!

Today there are hundreds 3rd party development tools that integrate with Visual Studio. With the launch of Visual Studio 2008 and the Visual Studio 2008 SDK, you’ll find a number of new ways to customize and extend Visual Studio. For example, you can use the Visual Studio 2008 Shell to create custom tools for almost any platform.

To give you something to play with over the holidays, we’ve recently posted a number of applications on CodePlex to showcase the types of tools you can build with the Visual Studio Shell.

AddOn Studio for World of Warcraft

WoW Addon Studio Screenshot

To get the upper hand playing WoW with your teenage cousins, build an add-on using the new AddOn Studio for World of Warcraft, an open-source development tool that brings the Visual Studio experience to building World of Warcraft add-ons. This WoW development environment is built on the Visual Studio 2008 Shell (isolated mode). Key features include a visual design surface, Lua code editor, FrameXML IntelliSense, and auto-generation of Lua events.

Storyboard Designer

Storyboard Designer ScreenshotIf you’re making a holiday movie of the family and need to draft out the sequence of events, check out the Storyboard Designer, a simple tool for anyone who wants to diagram (model) and generate documentation for a storyboard scenario. The Storyboard Designer provides an example of what can be accomplished by hosting DSL tools in the Visual Studio 2008 Shell (isolated mode). Watch the screencast: StoryboardDesignerDemo.

IronPython Studio

IronPython Studio Screenshot

You can also find on CodePlex a version of IronPython hosted in the Visual Studio Shell: IronPython Studio. If you’re looking for version of IronPython that merges with your installation of Visual Studio (standard or above) complete with IntelliSense, compiler, debugging, etc., download the free Visual Studio SDK. The IronPython Studio is a free, standalone language tool; for more details watch the IronPython Studio screencast video demo.

We hope these sample applications stimulate your thinking about how Visual Studio Extensibility can help you close deals, win service engagements, or at least improve your score in World of Warcraft. We’ll look forward to hearing from you in the new year.

Update - fixed some formatting.