Visual Studio Extensibility – did you know there are over 200 VSIP partners?

Many developers love the Eclipse platform in large part because of its extensibility: an ecosystem of partners that have built plug-ins and the ability to create your own plug-ins. At the same time, Visual Studio is perceived as a closed platform, while in reality it provides a high degree of extensibility and a very rich ecosystem of partners that provide very high-value plug-ins.

Aaron posted recently on his blog after publishing an article on the DotNet Developer’s Journal quote “Have you ever thought of a killer feature you would love to see in Visual Studio? Maybe you want to add support for a new programming language, or you have an idea for a new GUI designer tool. You can add support for virtually anything to Visual Studio through the SDK” – You can learn more in the MSDN Extensibility center

I believe we have now over 235 VSIP (Visual Studio Idustry Partners) companies listed in the partner solutions catalog where you will find components, controls, testing tools, installers, and many more. There are many partner sites with tons of add-ins including Code Project , Code Guru and our own GotDotNet CodeGallery . In fact, you can search and install many of these components and add-ins directly within Visual Studio using the Codezone search feature. <>
It could be that the eclipse platform has more partners or more plug-ins, but this is not a numbers game – it is about quality. A few years ago when I got my first Palm I visited to find a Chess game. I remember there were dozens of them. Palm claimed over 100,000 applications for its platform at the time, but there is a point where having more of the same stops adding value and becomes a problem. Instead of installing a dozen Chess applications to find a good one, I would have preferred two or three quality ones.

I think that is a key differentiator of the VSIP partner because we make sure everyone we list as a partner meets a high quality bar in part by providing early access to our tools, technical information and other resources.

Now we need to do a better job of promoting the solutions from our partners. We are working on it. What do you think?