New and Noteworthy Visual Studio Extensions – Feburary 2016

Last month I showed you a few of my favorite Visual Studio extensions that give great examples of how developers add new features to Visual Studio. With such a vibrant ecosystem around Visual Studio, new extensions are added almost every day—in fact, over 135 new extensions have been added to the Visual Studio Gallery already in 2016!

To help you enjoy this creativity from the community, every month or two I’ll be introducing some of the new extensions that caught my eye. Here are the highlights for this month:

After this I’ll also list the top 10 new extensions for January and February. And of course, let me know in the comments if I missed a great new extension that you love. At the end of this post I’ll also point you to information on writing your own extension—who knows, maybe you’ll be featured here soon yourself!

UWP Tile Generator by Shen Chauhan

Download UWP Tile Generator from the Visual Studio Gallery

If you are a Universal Windows (UWP) app developer, you know that part of making your app shine is having the right tiles and icons for all the form factors across platforms. Creating these images manually can be time consuming and cumbersome, which is where the UWP Tile Generator comes in handy. It generates all required sizes of tiles for your app right in Visual Studio and integrates them into your app manifest. Definitely a time saver.

UWP Tile Generator extension

Open Bin Folder Extension by John McBridge

Download Open Bin Folder from the Visual Studio Gallery

The beauty of the Open Bin Folder extension lies in its simplicity: all it does is add an item to the Solution Explorer context menu that opens your project’s bin folder. It doesn’t sound like much, but is a definite time-saver for a somewhat frequent operation! As an added bonus, the source is available on GitHub, so if you’d like to see what a Visual Studio extension is made of, take a look.

Open Bin Folder extension

DocPreview by Olev Shilo

Download DocPreview from the Visual Studio Gallery

Do you document your code? I hope so 😉 XML comments are a great way to do this as you go, especially because the XML tags are picked up by the Visual Studio IntelliSense making it easy for others to reuse your code. The DocPreview extension gives you a live HTML preview of your comments in a Tool Window, as you write it. This extension has been open-sourced.

DocPreview extension

JavaScript Snippet Pack by Mads Kristensen

Download the JavaScript Snippet Pack from the Visual Studio Gallery

The JavaScript Snippet Pack extension is a great example of using an extension to add a bunch of useful code Snippets to Visual Studio. The pack comes with over 30 snippets that will come in handy for every JavaScript developer, such as adding an event listener and for each loop. Mads made the source for this extension available on GitHub as well. And guess what?! One handy developer already ported it to Visual Studio Code. This is the power of open source software.

JavaScript Snippet Pack extension

Top 10 Popular Extensions from January/February 2016

As I mentioned in the beginning, we added a great number of new extensions in January and February. Out of the new ones added, here are the 10 most popular ones, three of which we’ve already seen—give them a try!

  1. JavaScript Snippet Pack
  2. Supercharger
  3. Ionic Pack
  4. SFML Template project
  5. UWP Tile Generator
  6. Dummy Text Generator
  7. Bootstrap Rifle
  8. UWP App Skeleton
  9. JSON ADO.NET Provider
  10. DocPreview

Build your own

These few examples of simple integrations show a wide range of what you can build through Visual Studio’s extensibility framework. If that piqued your interest, we just launched a new site with some great tutorials and videos on how to get started with Visual Studio extensions: VisualStudio.com/integrate. Take a look and let me know how it goes. I’m also hanging out in our extendvs Gitter chat as @bertique. Come on by and give me a shout.

Michael Dick

Michael Dick (@midi2dot0), Senior Program Manager, Visual Studio
Michael Dick is a Program Manager working on the Visual Studio team. Before joining Microsoft, Michael worked at a variety of tech companies and is passionate about developer tools. He is currently focusing on the ecosystem and extensibility experience for Visual Studio.