Exclusive First Look: Add New Online Templates... or other community components in VS 2005

You won't even see this stuff in the next tech preview drop!  Marie, who works on my team, has been doing some PM work around easily pulling community content into Visual Studio.  I think of this as enabling VS to be a more living product.  Anyway, I asked if I could give you guys (and gals) a first look at how the feature is shaping up so we could gather some more feedback while we are still in screen-shot mode.  I'll let Marie take it from here...

You may have seen the "Add New Online Templates..." icon in the New Project dialog in the latest Visual Studio 2005 Technology Preview. You may have even tried clicking on it and were disappointed to find out that the feature was not yet implemented. I'm working on this area for Whidbey Beta 2 and would love to get your feedback on the design of this feature.

In Beta 2 you will be able to search the community and MSDN for component items such as Project Templates, Item Templates, Code Snippets, Samples, and Controls. Then you can import this content into VS for use.

Below is a preview of the current design for the Search feature, I'd appreciate your input in the following areas:

  1. Do you consider searching for Code Snippets, Samples, Project Templates, Item Templates, and Controls as a different activity than searching for Help topics?
  2. Do you think it would be better to search for Help topics and Components on one tab instead of having a separate tab for Online Component search.
  3. Do you feel your knowledge of how Help Search works would help you use a similar but separate Online Component search tab.

To help you find online community components we would implement an Online Component Search tab in Help. The Online Component search tool window would be launched from the community menu or other context relative entry points (with “Components” filter set based on entry point) in DExplore or inside VS depending on whether Help is internal or external.

Clicking on the title of a component would link to the community website from where you could download the content: