Where can I get assistance with my Visual Studio Extensibility issue?

There are a good number of support options available for developers with questions and/or problems pertaining to extending or automating the Visual Studio development environment. Be it macro programming, COM automation, Add-in development, custom project and item wizards, or authoring packages with the Visual Studio SDK.

First the free stuff:

The MSDN Visual Studio Extensibility Development Center should be one of the first places you visit. This site includes links to many resources that may help address your question or problem with extending the Visual Studio development environment. For example, there are links to developer blogs, tutorials, “how to” videos, webcasts, and interesting samples on CodePlex and the MSDN Code Gallery.

The MSDN Visual Studio Extensibility Forum can be a very useful resource in getting advice, suggestions or feedback on questions around VS Extensibility. A number of our developers, testers, program managers and support staff participate in answering VS extensibility questions there. This forum is also frequented by a large number of developers, including a number of Microsoft MVPs that have a lot of expertise/experience with VS extensibility.

The not so free stuff:

Microsoft maintains a dedicated support team tasked specifically to assist customers with questions or problems pertaining to VS extensibility. To engage the support staff, a support incident must be submitted through Microsoft Customer Support Services.

Some versions of Microsoft Visual Studio include a number of free support incidents included with the purchase of the product (see http://support.microsoft.com/oas for details).

MSDN subscriptions may also include a number of free support incidents with the purchase (see http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/bb266240.aspx for details).

Support incidents may also be purchased through a variety of support offerings available under the Developer Tools category on the following site:



Standard support incidents cannot be used for advisory or consulting services. Issues involving a deep level of integration via the Visual Studio SDK can be quite complex. Customers that require advisory or consulting services may want to consider purchasing a Premier Support contract with Microsoft (see http://www.microsoft.com/services/Microsoftservices/srv_premier.mspx for details).

For smaller companies, the new Partner Advantage Support offering (see http://www.microsoft.com/services/microsoftservices/srv_mspa.mspx  for details) may be an attractive alternative. Both service offerings can be tailored to include a number of advisory/consulting hours to address more complex integration issues that might require extensive consulting, debugging and/or prototyping.

Finally, consider joining the Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) Program. The Premier and Alliance memberships include a complimentary MSDN Premium subscription, and eligibility to attend periodic Developer Clinics (see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vsx2008/products/bb964515.aspx for details).