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Using the Extension Manager

From: Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

Video: Using the Extension Manager

Visual Studio has supported an extensibility model since day one. Unfortunately, creating an add-in for Visual Studio has been a task for geniuses. You had to understand the Visual Studio SDK, the COM model, and a complex deployment mode. Most of that changes with Visual Studio 2010. By using the Managed Extensibility Framework, or MEF, as a replacement for COM, Microsoft has made it super simple for us to build and deploy add-ins. In this movie, I will show you the Extension Manager, which is the first step in understanding extensions.

Using the Extension Manager

Visual Studio has supported an extensibility model since day one. Unfortunately, creating an add-in for Visual Studio has been a task for geniuses. You had to understand the Visual Studio SDK, the COM model, and a complex deployment mode. Most of that changes with Visual Studio 2010. By using the Managed Extensibility Framework, or MEF, as a replacement for COM, Microsoft has made it super simple for us to build and deploy add-ins. In this movie, I will show you the Extension Manager, which is the first step in understanding extensions.

I am inside a solution called Extension Manager, which contains two projects: a Console application and our old friend PixelSmithDesktop. To work with Extension Manager, you go to the Tools menu and choose Extension Manager. On this tab, you can see any installed extensions in Visual Studio. I have two here because I've installed them in earlier movies: the DevExpress tools and the Snippet Designer. If I click on the Updates node, the tool will contact Microsoft web site to see if there are any updates for my installed extensions.

As you can see, there are none. Here is where it becomes really powerful. I can click on the Online Gallery. The tool will go out to the Microsoft designated web site and give me a list of all the available extensions. Currently, they're sorted by the highest rank extensions. Now if I decide that I want this Productivity Power Tools application, I can click on the Download button. I will do that in just a second. Let me show you a couple of these tools. Here's one called the VS10x Code Map.

As you can see, when you install this extension, it adds a special colorized navigation bar to the regular code window. That PowerCommands is another favorite of mine. This one gives you all sorts of useful commands, especially when you right-click items in this Solution Explorer. For example, here you can see I can open the containing folder or launch a command prompt directly from this app.xaml file. The one I'm going to install for today's demo is the Productivity Power Tools. All you need to do is click here and then click Download.

Next, I need to click the Install button, and it takes me over to the web site, so I can read more about that extension. I will have to restart Visual Studio here. Now, I can read about this extension. Let's look at a couple of features. There is the Solution Navigator, which gives you an alternate view to the Solution Explorer, and then another one that's a favorite of mine is the new Tab UI. Also, some people like this automatic C# completion of your brace structure.

So if you type in a beginning curly brace, it can type ending curly brace for you. I am going to close the browser, and then I am going to switch back to Visual Studio. Notice at the bottom of the screen it says you must restart Visual Studio, so I am going to choose Restart now. After a few seconds, Visual Studio restarts and reopens my solution. And now I can go to my Tools menu and go to Options.

And there's a new node in the Tools Option section. Here I can turn on the different extensions. Like if I want to have the Automatic Brace Completion, I can click here. And if I wanted to disable that, I can turn it off. Extensions are written using WPF. So this is using a WPF UI. Here is the Document Well Tab. This is where I can change the way the tabs look inside Visual Studio. You can see I can do things like tab sorting by project in alphabetical order and then choose OK.

Now, I am going to open up a few code files. I am going to open this Program.cs and make a change. Here is one of the additions. So there is now a red dot on that tab to signify that I have made a change to that file. I am going to go here to this MainWindow. xaml, and notice that the tabs are now colorized. This blue tab is for all the files that are inside the console demo. And I open multiple tabs here in the PixelSmithDesktop demo, you see they show this kind of brown theme and it's sorting them alphabetical by project.

I don't have enough files to show you that in great detail, but if you have 20 or 30 files opened it is really handy to see them in alphabetical order, when you're looking for that particular tab. I have to say I'm completely sold on this version of Visual Studio. This is the way extensibility should be, from the consumer's perspective. Extensions are easy to find, simple to install, and they automatically update if there's a newer version of the extension. They integrate easily with the Visual Studio IDE, too. The reason they integrate so well is because of the managed extensibility framework.

And that's the topic for the next movie in this chapter.

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This video is part of

Image for Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training
Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

86 video lessons · 31806 viewers

Walt Ritscher
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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