PDC05 – Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA)

Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA)


Provide a redistributable Integrated Development Environment (IDE), Design Time (DT), and Run time (RT) for hosts (ISV’s, etc..) providing a rich managed customization environment for developers.

VSTA v1.0 was just announced in the keynote at PDC and the ship date coinsides with the release of Office 12.


• Redistributable VS (Visual Studio) IDE and run time
• Managed customization support (both app- and doc-level)
• Available via the VSIP program.
• Third process debugging.
MAF (Managed Addin Framework)  implementation!
• Building and debugging 32bit and 64bit customizations
• VSTA projects open in VS and vice versa
• Macro recording (via DTE)
• Core infrastructure – project system, build/debug support
• Add-in manager

  • A set of public interfaces for managing Addin’s.

• Partial Trust support
• App Domain management

  • Support for loading customizations (Assemblies) into existing App Domains or into new App Domains.

• Managed Addin Framework support


  • Proxy Gen

• A tool similar to tlbimp.  Although we produced source files that can be further tweaked Versus the binaries.
• Reflects off of TypeLib’s or managed OM’s and produces Addin friendly managed proxy code that consumes contract implementations.

  • Generic Adapter

• Implements contracts (interfaces) and provides host side AppDomain runtime reflection against the host object model.

  • Samples, Snippet’s

  • Redistributable IDE/RT

• Host project extensibility

• v1 Scenario Example: InfoPath (host) Office12 ships with VSTA integration

• InfoPath user wants to add validation logic to one of the form fields
• InfoPath starts the VSTA IDE and tells it to create a new InfoPath project
• The user writes the validation code and presses F5 to build and start debugging.
• VSTA launches the InfoPath preview process and attaches the debugger to it
• InfoPath discovers the new Addin and tells the VSTA runtime to load it
• When the developer stops debugging, VSTA terminates the InfoPath preview process

Comments (8)
  1. The Microsoft Trinity team, which is responsible for the VSTO and VSTA products, is transferring the…

  2. This was my first webcast, so please be patient through the beginning.  It gets much better there…

  3. I receive several frequently asked questions on VSTA and the WinFX Add-in model, so I thought I would…

  4. I receive several frequently asked questions on VSTA and the WinFX Add-in model, so I thought I would

  5. We recently published an article on the new CLR System.AddIn libraries in the February 2007 MSDN magazine

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