Vibrant Partner Ecosystem

A core part of our strategy has always been to have a strong, healthy, vibrant partner ecosystem.  That has always been our mantra for success.  Together with our partners, we can bring to the market a compelling set of solutions, products, technologies and services that will provide the best value proposition for our customers.


Along these lines, we have been doing a bunch of work in Visual Studio to enable a strong partner ecosystem.  Between the tools that we offer and what our partners offer, we have a richer and more comprehensive set of offerings.  This allows you to have a broader and richer choice of tools that will help you build applications and services and provide you the best programming experience – simpler and richer.


In Visual Studio 2002, we unified our developer tools into a single development environment.  In addition to integrating each of our products into this IDE, we also provide the same set of interfaces to Visual Studio Industry Partners (VSIP).  We have over 200 members (paid and active) and about 20 joint partners; these companies have helped us provide a complete ecosystem of products for developing Windows applications.  There are hundreds of products here including new languages like Fujitsu NetCOBOL which includes Intellisense, visual form design, and everything else you would expect in Visual Studio.  There are great database tools including Deklarit, a tool for simplifying database design that lets you easily refactor databases, and a recently announced integration from Oracle that will provide great tools for their databases inside the IDE.  There are a host of other tools covering the whole development lifecycle including custom controls, modeling tools, profilers, source control systems, and much, much more. To look for other products that integrate with Visual Studio, please use our Partner Catalog at  


To learn more about extending Visual Studio, visit our Extensibility Dev Center at




Comments (5)

  1. Puri says:


    I am excited that the new Visual Studio allows third party extensions. But what about the old Visual studio users? We use VS 6.0 (pre .Net version) still. I am a big visual studio fan. I like to see how I can make VS 6.0 to use third party c/c++ compiler and linker (non MS compilers when doing cross compilation for embedded platforms). When I talked to MS support guy about this, he told me that MS marketing doesn’t want to publish this information out for all versions till VS 6.0.

    I think you guys need to look back into it. There are many shops still using VS 6.0.



  2. S. Somasegar says:

    Puri – I am very happy to see a big Visual Studio fan 🙂 in you. The way we recommend developers to use other compilers with the VC++ IDE is through “Makefile” projects.

    The VC++ build system has a lot of built in support for the Microsoft compilers and linkers and how to get dependency information from them that it would be hard to replicate with other compiler tools that Visual Studio does not control or know about. We created the “Makefile” project feature (which is available in VC6) specifically to allow you to use a separate build system which can work with tools that we don’t know about. Makefile projects allow you to run any arbitrary build system to build your projects while still use the IDE for editing and debugging.

    In VC6, Makefile projects had the disadvantage of not allowing you to get any browsing information. In VS2005, we specifically addressed this issue with one of our new features (live browsing) which allows full IntelliSense and browsing information for any project editable in the IDE (including Makefile projects).

    In addition to making the Makefile story better, we also added a lot more extensibility in the C++ project and build system since VS 2002 and even more in VS2005 to eliminate much of the need for using different build systems. We now allow augmenting the set of tools that we understand (such as CL and LINK) with others that you can tell us about. For example, you could configure the build system to understand about building assembly files, running a lexer or a compiler’s compiler like YACC. We also allow sharing settings between projects which greatly increases the scalability and improves the maintainability of VS projects.

    Also, since you brought up the issue of targeting devices, I would point out that VS2005 has device development tools integrated in the product. You can use VS2005 for both desktop and device development.



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