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Creating an MEF add-in

From: Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

Video: Creating an MEF add-in

There were some major changes made to the architecture of Visual Studio in this release. The old Visual Studio interface, including the code editor, was replaced with a new UI written in WPF. Then the extensibility framework was enhanced with the new managed extensibility code bits. What this means for .NET programmers is that it is now easier to write a custom editor plug-in. You no longer have to learn the ugly COM object model to be a successful add-in author. I'm inside Visual Studio, and I've opened the CreateMefAddin Solution.

Creating an MEF add-in

There were some major changes made to the architecture of Visual Studio in this release. The old Visual Studio interface, including the code editor, was replaced with a new UI written in WPF. Then the extensibility framework was enhanced with the new managed extensibility code bits. What this means for .NET programmers is that it is now easier to write a custom editor plug-in. You no longer have to learn the ugly COM object model to be a successful add-in author. I'm inside Visual Studio, and I've opened the CreateMefAddin Solution.

This contains two extensibility projects. The first one is enabled. The second one I have unloaded temporarily. That's why it says unavailable. Before you attempt to create an extensibility item, you need to install the Visual Studio SDK, which I've done. Now I can go to File > New > Project and choose my language and then this Extensibility note. And here are some other new items that were added for the SDK.

This is a syntax highlighter. This adds graphics to the editor margin. This applies adornments to the text, and the one we are going to look at today is called the Editor Viewport Adornment. This is going to draw a purple rectangle in a floating section of the UI. That's what the adornment layer is. I have already added a project of this type, so I am going to click Cancel, and then we are going to take a look at this code here. Most of the code that's inside this Floating Code Counter Factory is managed extensibility framework code.

I suggest you spend some time looking at the code in there to learn how it works. I don't have time to give you a tutorial on managed extensibility framework. I am going to look in this class here through, FloatingCodeCounter.cs. We are going to draw something on the adornment layer, which as I said is a floating area of the window, and then here's the important parts for this application. I am using these bits of code to generate a WPF brush, and then this section is creating a rectangle, a 30x30 rectangle, and using the brushes to draw that rectangle.

And then at some point, I'm going to get the adornment layer and add my floating code counter to the adornment layer. Then this wires up a few events to listen. If you resize the Visual Studio window, then it will move the adorner window to a new section. I'm ready to test out this application, so let me save the application and rebuild the application. Now lets think what needs to happen if I am going to test out my extension.

I need to install the tool in Visual Studio. Extension manager is one of the ways that I can do that. There is also a special type of installer, called a VSIX installer. You'll notice that in this project there is a file that ends with vsix.manifest. When I compile my code in this bin folder, it will create a file with the extension vsix. So when I'm ready to test the application, I need to launch another version of Visual Studio, especially if I want to debug my add-in.

I need to launch this second version and then attach the debugger to it, and then when you work in that second version of Visual Studio, you can walk through the code in this first one. To do that, you would click on Debug > Start Debugging. Using this method, however, is very slow because it's attaching the debugger to Visual Studio. So I am going to choose Start Without Debugging, which will launch the second version of Visual Studio but wont attach the debugger. I will show you what it looks like. Notice that at the top of my window it says Experimental Instance.

That's to tell me that I'm in the second copy of Visual Studio. Now before I go any further, let me make one change. Tools, Options, and then I'm going to go to Projects and Solutions, and uncheck this Save New Projects when created. I am going to be creating a lots of sample projects. I don't want to cut up my folder with applications I am not going to use. So I'll click on OK, and then I'll create a brand-new project, create a console application and here's my Code Editor window.

There is the first instance of Visual Studio in the background, and then you can see when I resize this window, this rectangle moves to a new position. That's the floating window. When I close this second instance of Visual Studio and choose Discard, I get this dialog because of that Tools Option settings I just changed. And now I am going to show you the code in this second project. So I am going to reload the second project and unload the first project.

Then I am going to save my changes, and we are going to rebuild my application. This application is slightly more interesting because it has a better UI. I have written a WPF user control, and I've added some text blocks, and in this case, I've added a text block called Total Lines Text block. I'm going to read the line count inside the code window and update this number. The way I am doing that is I am going to exposing some properties on this window and then in the FloatingCodeCounterV3.cs file, down here in this area, I am using this to talk to the Visual Studio editor and get the line counts again.

Look at this code to see how it works. I am ready to try it out, so I am going to go and choose Debug > Start Without Debugging. The Experimental Instance of Visual Studio runs, I click on New Project, choose a console application, and there is my new floating window. You can see the old floating window is still there. This is interesting. It was installed inside this experimental instance of Visual Studio. So I can uninstall this purple rectangle by going to Tools, Extension Manager, and it shows that I have the FloatingCodeCounter and the FloatingCodeCounterV3 installed.

So if I click here and choose Uninstall and then restart Visual Studio, that purple rectangle disappears. I am going ahead and leave with it like it is. Now, watch what happens when I come over here and type in some lines of code. The total lines updates to 15 and if I put a few blank lines in and show have 4 blank lines of code, and if I put comment in here, that updates the comments section. Wow.

The ease of creating these extensions is incredible. I know I've created a few extensions in the old days, and this is much easier. Plus, the ability to use the extension manager to add and remove extensions is very powerful. In the next movie, I'll show you how to install extensions and add them to the public extension store.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

86 video lessons · 30240 viewers

Walt Ritscher
Author

 
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 7m 19s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio versions
      3m 51s
    2. Setting up your developer computer
      3m 28s
  3. 58m 2s
    1. Creating a Visual Studio project
      4m 58s
    2. Working with Solution Explorer
      6m 32s
    3. Working with big projects
      3m 53s
    4. Taking a tour of the Integrated Developer Environment (IDE)
      8m 36s
    5. Introducing drag-and-drop UI design
      7m 38s
    6. Working with the Properties window
      6m 44s
    7. Looking at Server Explorer
      7m 4s
    8. Exploring the new Help engine
      6m 41s
    9. Setting options for the IDE
      5m 56s
  4. 39m 25s
    1. Creating a simple WPF application
      1m 32s
    2. Building the UI with the editors
      9m 14s
    3. Working with the application code
      3m 37s
    4. Communicating with the web site
      7m 15s
    5. Connecting your data
      8m 4s
    6. Binding to an RSS feed
      5m 4s
    7. Packaging and deploying the application
      4m 39s
  5. 39m 46s
    1. What languages are supported in Visual Studio 2010?
      1m 17s
    2. Exploring basic settings for the Code Editor
      5m 35s
    3. Writing a C# program
      6m 48s
    4. Writing a VB program
      6m 29s
    5. Working with C++
      6m 38s
    6. Working with F Sharp
      6m 9s
    7. Font and color options
      6m 50s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Formatting your code
      6m 43s
    2. Navigating your code
      7m 44s
    3. Using the Task List
      2m 26s
    4. Commenting your code
      2m 45s
    5. Documenting your code
      8m 26s
    6. Using IntelliSense effectively
      7m 0s
    7. Working with code snippets
      6m 25s
    8. Refactoring your code
      5m 15s
    9. Understanding code generation
      2m 10s
    10. Generating code with T4
      6m 29s
    11. Using the Class View, Class Designer, and Class Diagram tools
      5m 51s
    12. Refactoring VB with CodeRush Xpress
      4m 33s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Working with project and item templates
      8m 38s
    2. Creating a console application
      7m 5s
    3. Creating a class library
      6m 26s
    4. Creating a web site with ASP.NET
      7m 37s
    5. Creating a rich internet application with Silverlight
      6m 57s
    6. Creating a classic Windows application with Windows Forms
      10m 31s
    7. Creating a dramatic Windows application with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
      4m 41s
    8. Creating a WCF service
      9m 1s
    9. Using an existing WCF service
      6m 38s
    10. Navigation UI designs with the Document Outline view
      3m 41s
  8. 33m 18s
    1. Creating a data project with SQL Project
      6m 24s
    2. Clarifying the confusion on .NET Data
      3m 31s
    3. Using ADO.NET in your application
      6m 50s
    4. Creating typed datasets
      7m 55s
    5. Using the data binding tools
      8m 38s
  9. 30m 13s
    1. Debugging code
      9m 32s
    2. Working with the Watch and other debug windows
      7m 46s
    3. Other debugging techniques
      6m 50s
    4. IntelliTrace historical debugging in Visual Studio Ultimate
      6m 5s
  10. 17m 56s
    1. Understanding Visual Studio editions and test tools
      2m 22s
    2. Verifying your code with unit tests
      8m 58s
    3. Running performance and load tests
      6m 36s
  11. 34m 5s
    1. Building your application
      4m 19s
    2. Customizing the build process with MSBuild
      6m 36s
    3. Setting assembly information
      2m 12s
    4. Deploying a basic Windows application
      2m 19s
    5. Creating an installer with Visual Studio
      7m 39s
    6. Creating a ClickOnce application
      5m 13s
    7. Setting up IIS for deploy
      2m 9s
    8. Deploying a Silverlight or ASP.NET application
      3m 38s
  12. 14m 0s
    1. Understanding source control
      2m 9s
    2. Setting up Team Foundation Server source control
      3m 5s
    3. Using Team Foundation Server source control
      8m 46s
  13. 17m 31s
    1. Understanding the .NET Office integration
      4m 16s
    2. Making a Word 2010 application
      7m 54s
    3. Making an Excel 2010 add-in
      5m 21s
  14. 31m 34s
    1. Understanding the extensibility model in Visual Studio
      2m 17s
    2. Adding external tools to the Tools menu
      4m 42s
    3. Creating macros
      7m 16s
    4. Using the Extension Manager
      5m 1s
    5. Creating an MEF add-in
      7m 9s
    6. Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX
      5m 9s
  15. 25m 34s
    1. Working with configuration files
      5m 37s
    2. Using the Settings Editor
      7m 30s
    3. Using the Resources Editor
      6m 59s
    4. Localizing your resources
      5m 28s
  16. 1m 17s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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