VSX Community Letter for October 2007

This month's letter includes information about what the VSX team has been working on in the past month, our new VSX CoDe Focus magazine issue online, the new VB Pack for VS 2005, what's new on VSX team and community blogs, upcoming event news, VSX community news, a link to our October VSX survey, and a preview of what's coming next month.

VSX Team Update

Over the last month, our team has been busy working on the final feature sprint for the VS 2008 SDK 1.0 final release. We still have 2 weeks remaining, before we are feature complete for the 1.0 of the new VS SDK. For this sprint, we are primarily focusing on the following work items:

  • VS Shell Development scenarios – the shipping the VS Shell is obviously a high-priority item for us, and the development experience for it is also important. We are currently working on a more seamless development experience for creating VS Shell instances with the VS SDK.
  • VB Samples – the VS 2008 SDK will ship with VB samples included.
  • Sample Cloning – to support Vista UAC, we now support package development as a normal user as well as using our samples. The clean version of the samples are installed under Program Files, so we need to clone them before the user builds them.
  • Bug-fixing – High-priority bugs needed to be resolved for the 1.0 release.

After we finish our sprint this month (October), we will be busy with the October VSIP Summit & Developer Conference held here in Redmond. Then, we will start our final security review and stabilization period. Our plan is to make the VS 2008 SDK version 1.0 final release available online by end of the year (soon after the release of VS 2008).

VSX CoDe Focus Magazine online

VSX CoDe Focus magazine is now online at https://code-magazine.com/focus/vsx. Microsoft sponsored this special edition of CoDe Magazine on the topic of VSX. The entire 76 page magazine is available online in multi-page HTML format, as a PDF download (13MB), and in WPF format using the Xiine WPF client viewer. Printed copies of the magazine will be available in late October at various developer events and mailed to many existing CoDe magazine subscribers.

The VSX issue is now highlighted on the CoDe magazine home page at https://code-magazine.com. Thanks to EPS Software for helping create another great Focus issue of CoDe magazine, and to all the VSX community and Microsoft product team members who authored the articles.

VSX team and community blog posts

James Lau has been blogging about the VB Pack and upcoming VSX events. Craig Skibo posted about the new location for Installer Power Toys and why C# and VB are not supported for VS Shell Isolated stubs. Aaron Marten blogged about the new VB support in the SDK, his upcoming session at DevTeach, and the VSX CoDe Focus magazine (including the photos I submitted for my sidebar). Deep Dubey blogged about the VB Pack and the VS Shell in isolated mode. Gareth Jones, Stuart Kent, and Steve Cook have been blogging about DSL Tools, upcoming events, and other topics.

VSX community members Pablo Galiano and Carlos Quintero have both posted many blog entries on VSX topics in the past month.

Visual Basic Pack for Visual Studio 2005 SDK

The Visual Basic Pack for Visual Studio 2005 SDK download provides the SDK samples converted in the Visual Basic language and a new wizard that is used for generating Visual Basic based integration Packages for Microsoft Visual Studio. This download is an add-on to version 4.0 of the Visual Studio 2005 SDK. While VB support for the VS 2005 SDK is in the form of an independent add-on install, VB support for the upcoming VS 2008 SDK will be included (integrated in along with C++ and C# support). The VB Pack for VS SDK 2005 includes:

Visual Basic Samples
As part of the Visual Studio product development team’s community initiative, the team has converted the samples included in the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 SDK to the Visual Basic language. The new Visual Basic samples can be accessed from the Visual Studio SDK Browser.

Visual Basic Visual Studio Integration Package Wizard
A new wizard has been added that will assist in generating Visual Basic Integration Packages for Microsoft Visual Studio. The wizard can be accessed by choosing the new project type Visual Basic.

For additional details, check out the video Deepankar Dubey and Gearard Boland discuss the VB Pack for the VS 2005 SDK discussions the new VB Pack and our plans for additional VB support in the upcoming final release of the VS 2008 SDK.

Also check out the blog post by Beth Massi on the VB team blog: Visual Basic Pack for Visual Studio 2005 SDK Released!.

Upcoming events

Below are various events that the VSX team will be attending in the next few months, or hosting in the case of the VSIP summit, including names of various team members who will be at each event.

  • October VSIP Summit (Redmond, WA) - October 15-19 - (VS Ecosystem team and marketing team)
  • TechEd Europe (Barcelona, Spain) - November 5-9 (James Lau, Anthony Cangialosi, Doug Hodges, Stuart Kent, and others)
  • VS DevConnections (Las Vegas, NV) - November 5-8 (Ken Levy and some members of our marketing team)
  • DevTeach (Vancouver, Canada) - November 26-29 (Ken Levy - VSX Keynote, general sessions - James Lau and Aaron Marten)

VSX sessions added to DevTeach Vancouver

Along with the keynote session at DevTeach 2007 in Vancouver next month, we will have VSX team members speaking in general sessions.

Title: Build your own specialized tools environment with Visual Studio 2008 Shell
Speaker: James Lau
Abstract: Visual Studio Shell is a new offering in the Orcas wave of products. With this new product, tools developers can now easily build their own specialized tools environment on the same platform that Visual Studio is built on, without any royalty fee. Whether you are looking to build an “Express” edition for your programming language product, or you want to build an IDE for specialized controls systems, the Visual Studio Shell can help you cut cost and focus on your areas of expertise. In this session, we will walk you through how to build your own custom IDE on the Shell. You will walk away inspired to build your own specialized tools environment on this new platform!

Title: VSX 101 : An Introduction to Visual Studio Extensibility
Speaker: Aaron MartenAbstract: Have you ever wished that Visual Studio was customized for your development needs? Come and learn how you can create Visual Studio packages in Visual Basic or C# to extend your development experience. Join us as we create an extension from start to finish using the freely available Visual Studio SDK. We will cover the various tools and frameworks available in the SDK including the Managed Package Framework. If you are simply looking to improve your personal productivity with Visual Studio, or have an idea for the next great Visual Studio extension, you won’t want to miss this talk.

VS extension tips of the month: CodeSkipper and SharpStyle Neutron

Check out CodeSkipper by Ken Cooper, a code browser for Visual C#. There's also the recently released first version of SharpStyle Neutron, a package that allows ActionScript 2.0 development in Visual Studio 2005.

More How-to videos for VSX online

We now have more How-do-I videos on the topic of VSX at "How Do I?" Videos for Visual Studio Extensibility. We have 15 total online as of now and about 1 new video being posted per week. If you have ideas and suggestions for future topics for VSX screencast videos, send your feedback so we can review the suggestion and possibly add it to the list of future content. Special thanks to Hilton Giesenow and Dylan Miles who have been the creators of these How-Do-I videos on VSX topics. Feel free to send me email with suggestions for future VSX topics to include in the How-Do-I video screencast series.

Invitation to participate in the VSX Survey - October 2007

Visual Studio is a rich extensible platform. As more and more developers continue to build extensions the Visual Studio Ecosystem team wants to ensure we are focusing on the right needs for VSX developer.

Please take a few minutes and complete the VSX Survey 2007 to let us know how you extend Visual Studio. Your response will help us build better tools for extending Visual Studio and improve the overall platform.

Our current plan is to release a survey like this about every 6 months and track the trends from the results. This survey will end October 25th, 2007. We look forward to carefully reviewing your answers and comments to provide better tools, functionality, and educational content for extending Visual Studio.

Next month

In next month's letter, we will have more team news and a sneak preview of some things prior the various events we will be participating in during November (TechEd Europe, VS DevConnections Vegas, and DevTeach Vancouver).

Please send your VS SDK feedback to us via vssdkfbk@microsoft.com, or post a technical question in the MSDN Forum for VSX. For VSX community ideas and feedback, feel free email me directly via klevy@microsoft.com or using the Email link on my blog.

Ken Levy
Program Manager
Visual Studio Tools Ecosystem