My name's Alex Malek, I'm a Lead PM on the SharePoint Designer team. During my day job, I focus on the workflow experience in SharePoint and SPD. However, for the last year or so, I've been working on a little side project called the "Visual Studio extensions for Windows SharePoint Services" (VSeWSS). Simply put, VSeWSS is all about making developers more productive on SharePoint. This last week, we released our first version, which you can download here: link. As with many v1’s, this release doesn’t do everything, but it’s a first step on the road to having great dev tools for SharePoint.
The VSeWSS installer consists of two pieces: 1) an add-in to Visual Studio that adds some SharePoint-specific project templates (e.g. Web Part, Site Definition, Content Type, etc.) and 2) a little utility program, called the SharePoint Solution Generator, which enables you to take site "instances," customized in SPD and the browser, and convert them into site definitions, which you can then continue editing in VS.
In short, our goal with VSeWSS was to "make F5 work" for the most common SharePoint objects, such Web Parts. Fortunately, we got a bit farther than that - over the next few weeks, I'll blog a little about how to use VSeWSS for some of more advanced scenarios it support, e.g. creating content types with event handlers.