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Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX

From: Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

Video: Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX

If you've been following along in this chapter, you probably have ideas for building your own add-ins and custom tools for Visual Studio. How do you distribute those to other developers? The best way is to use a special installer, known as V-S-I-X, or VSIX. You can use a VSIX installer to install many Visual Studio editions, including projects and item templates, ToolBox controls, .NET assemblies, and even custom start pages. A VSIX is nothing more than a compressed file that contains your compiled code and some special files: a content type XML file and a VSIX manifest.

Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX

If you've been following along in this chapter, you probably have ideas for building your own add-ins and custom tools for Visual Studio. How do you distribute those to other developers? The best way is to use a special installer, known as V-S-I-X, or VSIX. You can use a VSIX installer to install many Visual Studio editions, including projects and item templates, ToolBox controls, .NET assemblies, and even custom start pages. A VSIX is nothing more than a compressed file that contains your compiled code and some special files: a content type XML file and a VSIX manifest.

Let me show you how to create a VSIX installer. I have a Solution called CustomVSIXInstaller opened, which has a project in it called LyndaCustomBizTemplate. So this thing that I'm going to install today is a project template. You might remember from earlier movies that you can export your own templates by going to File > Export. You're going to choose to export a Project template. And then here, we're going to give this template a little bit of a more interesting description, like that.

I don't want to automatically import this template into Visual Studio, so I'm going to uncheck that check box. And I will want it to show the output files folder when I'm done. Now, you can see I have a file from my previous runthrough. So I'll click on Yes to delete it, and here is that custom ZIP file. This contains the ZIP information for the custom template. Now I'm going to create the custom VSIX installer. I'll go over to my solution, right- click, and choose Add > New Project.

I'm going to go to the C# section, then to Extensibility, and then to the VSIX Project. And I'm going to call mine lyndaBizTemplateInstaller and then click OK. At this point, it's a simple matter of filling out some details--whatever I want to call my Product. And then I'm going to come down here, and this is the content that I'm going to install.

So, I'm going to click on the Add Content. Here, I get to pick the kind of installer I'm making. Project Template's what I'm working with, but you can see there's also VS Packages, there's Custom Extension Types, there is the MEF Components from an earlier demo, and here is the Toolbox Control. Today, I'm going to Project Template, and then I'll come down here and choose that ZIP file that I just saved out. So, I'm going to go over here and copy this file path, return back to Visual Studio and paste it in here. I'll paste it in here.

It'll be more useful if I paste it in here. And there is my ZIP file and then I click on Open. One more thing: I need to type in a subfolder here. I don't need to, but I'm going to have this customize the Open Project window by doing this, and I'll click on OK. Next, I need to save my project and build or rebuild my solution. At this point, I can go out to my installer, right-click, and choose Open Folder in Windows Explorer, and then drill down into the bin > Debug folder, and here is the custom installer.

Now, I will give this installer to other developers. They will take it, and they'll double-click on it. It shows information about what they're installing, the Lynda Business template. Now, I didn't put in a licensing term. Now I'm going to click the Install button and then Close. It's told me I needed to restart Visual Studio, but I could relaunch a second copy, which is what I'm going to do.

And then I'm going to go to File > New Project, and there is the lynda folder, and there's our lyndaCustomBizTemplate. Now, I'm going to choose this one and click OK, and now I have my custom files all loaded in from that CustomBizTemplate. There's one more thing you can do with this template, is you can go out to this site, the Visual Studio Gallery, and click on Upload, tell them what kind of item you're uploading, give them the path to your template, and then it'll be shared with all the other Visual Studio 2010 users when they go to the Tools > Extension Manager.

It'll show up as an item they can install from this location. Now you know how to create a custom add- in and a custom installer to share your new tool with the .NET community. I can tell you from past experience that this way of doing extensions is far superior to the old model.

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This video is part of

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Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

86 video lessons · 30209 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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