When I think about Visual Studio, the first and foremost thing that comes to my mind is that we have a great tools platform – one that we build tools on as part of the Visual Studio family and the others a set of rich tools offerings that our partners build on top of Visual Studio. The net result is that between what our partners have and what we have, there is a rich and comprehensive set of tools offerings on the Visual Studio tools platform that our customers can use and rely on.
Several months ago the Microsoft Visual Studio SDK team made some exciting changes to support the vast community customizing and extending Visual Studio, while at the same time making it easier for new customers to try their hand at extending Visual Studio - First, we consolidated over a dozen SDK’s and countless other whitepapers and samples into the new Visual Studio 2005 SDK. Customers now have a single resource they can turn to for their Visual Studio integration needs. Next, we decided to ship the SDK more often, not just when Visual Studio releases a new version. The SDK team looked at our release schedules and talked with customers, and decided that shipping more frequently (2-3 times a year) gives us the right balance between frequent SDK drops for our partners and customers and being able to provide meaningful new stuff as part of each SDK drop. As part of this process, the V1 SDK represents a “from the ground up” revamping of our previous efforts.
The first version of the new Visual Studio SDK was completed to align with the Visual Studio 2005 RTM in late October 2005. The team is currently working on V2 of the SDK and has already shipped three Community Technology Preview (CTP) releases of this version. V2 of the Visual Studio SDK is scheduled to RTM in April 2006. The V2 SDK is focused on project systems and editors; and includes one of the most exciting samples the team has ever done – the Microsoft IronPython end-to-end integration sample. This sample showcases the integration points available to a language integrator and includes - a project system, editor support with syntax coloring and IntelliSense, a language service, CodeDOM support and Winforms designer integration.
Partners have already used the CTP to perform their own designer integration, proving the value of this sample to the community before the sample is finished! There are lots of other features in the V2 release, too many to cover here, so I encourage you to download the SDK and take a look.
We plan to continue to expand our activities to support the Visual Studio extensibility community and will share our plans as soon as we can. It is an exciting time to be part of the Visual Studio extensibility community and using the Visual Studio SDK to extend Visual Studio. For more information on the Microsoft Visual Studio SDK, please visit the MSDN Extend site.