Share Your Open Source Extension on the Visual Studio Gallery!

In a recent post on Extending Visual Studio 2015 we shared how easy it is to create Visual Studio extensions. We also shared links to our improved docs and to our presence on GitHub. Continuing in this vein of improvements to make it super easy to write and share extensions, I’d like to share the improved integration with GitHub in the Visual Studio Gallery.

Today there are thousands of very useful open source extensions in the VS gallery with their code hosted on GitHub. These open source extensions provide a chance for other developers to learn and collaborate, and for the extension authors to get feedback on their extensions. However, the only way for extension developers to share their own repo is to put a link in the long description of their extension. Needless to say, this made it really hard to discover the sources for an extension – and so we fixed it! Now, as an extension author, you can easily provide the GitHub URL of your extension. We will pull information such as the number of open issues and pull requests, and display it on the gallery page for your extension (see below picture as an example). As an extension consumer, this change will make it easy for you to find the source repo information, provide feedback, and collaborate on open source extensions.

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Web Essentials 2013 extension on GitHub

Here’s how you can display your source repo information on VS Gallery.

  1. Sign in to the Visual Studio Gallery

  2. Open your extension edit page (the same process you use when uploading an extension).

  3. On the Edit page, add your source repo URL under “Provide Url to source code repository” check box and click save.

Right now, about 150 of our extension authors have already taken advantage of this feature and added links to their GitHub repos to their Gallery pages. Go Extenders!

Coming Soon in the Visual Studio Gallery

This is the first step towards improving the experience for open source extension in the Visual Studio Gallery. Here is a peek into other improvements we have in mind:

  • Pull extension description from ReadMe.md. Want to save your time on writing extension descriptions? With this change we will pull ReadMe content from your GitHub repo directly and populate the description on Visual Studio Gallery.

  • More extension statistical data. We have heard requests from you for easier ways to see statistical data for your extensions. The idea here is to not only show more statistical information on your extension page, but also provide a set of APIs for you to easily consume this data.

  • Show badges on your repo. On your repo a badge will show how many people downloaded your extension. We also think it will be fun if we can provide extension authors a way to generate badges similar to this:

          

  • Get rewards from your extension. Extending the reward element from badges, we also plan to provide a points and rewards system for extension authors.

  • Extension upload API. Want to have some APIs to upload extensions? Or even integrate with CI services to trigger an auto upload? This is also part of our improvement plan so keep an eye out for upcoming updates to the Gallery.

We have shared above some of the top items on our mind. Is there anything else you’d like to see improved in Visual Studio Gallery? We’d love to hear your feedback! Please share your suggestions with us either through the UserVoice site, drop us a line on binliu@microsoft.com, visit us on Stack Overflow with tag “visual-studio-extensions”, or simply leave a comment below.

image Robin Liu, Program Manager, Visual Studio China

Robin is a Program Manager from Visual Studio China team where he and the team spend time on improving the experience for Visual Studio extension gallery. He would like to hear your ideas to improve the Visual Studio gallery experience.