You might want to use the Visual Studio Modeling SDK if you have one of these requirements:
- Create Graphical or Form-Based modeling designers. For these, you can use the DSL Tools
- Enable transformation of T4 templates part of the build. For these you can use the T4 SDK
- Bulk-index assemblies in the Code Index underlying Code Map. For this you can use the Code Index SDK (embedded in the Modeling SDK)
The Modeling SDK changed its name several times during the last ten years: starting from the ‘DSL Tools’ in 2007, it grew to become ‘Visualization and Modeling SDK’ (VSVm SDK) in 2010. At that time, the SDK also contained UML extensibility. Finally, the name was a bit long and therefore it was shorted to ‘Modeling SDK’ in 2012. With previous versions of Visual Studio, regardless of its name, we used to release the Modeling SDK as a separate download.
We are pleased to announce that, from this Visual Studio 2017 RC update, the Visual Studio Modeling SDK will be released as part of Visual Studio itself (in all editions of Visual Studio).
How to install the components of the Modeling SDK?
Previously, the DSL Tools, T4 SDK and Code Index SDK were all shipped as part of the Modeling SDK.
In VS2017, the T4 SDK is installed with the T4 runtime as part of the Text Template Transformation optional component, which is itself installed by default with many Visual Studio workloads
The DSL Tools and Code Index SDK are installed as part of the DSL tools optional component (the component will be renamed to the Modeling SDK in a future Visual Studio RC update, as this is the name under which you have known it for several years). you can find this component in the Visual Studio Extension development workload in every edition of Visual Studio
For the next update of Visual Studio 2017 RC we are slightly improving the experience:
- When you use the “Add New Project …” dialog, the DSL Tools project template is currently located under “Other Project Types | Extensibility”. And now, it’s the only one in this category. We are moving it to be under “C# | Extensibility” with the other Visual Studio SDK content, where it makes more sense
- The DSLProjectMigrationTool, (which transforms a DSL Tools solution created for previous versions of Visual Studio, to Visual Studio 2017) will also be added to the release.
You want to know more?
You can find more information on these features:
- DSL Tools are described in detail in the MSDN Library (Modeling SDK for Visual Studio – Domain-Specific Languages). One change is you won’t need to install the Modeling SDK any longer. The DSL Tools Lab is a good resource for beginners.
- T4 MSBuild is also described in the MSDN Library (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee847423.aspx). Again, you can skip the first step as you won’t need to install the Modeling SDK any longer.
- The Code Index SDK is detailed in the following blog posts: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/visualstudioalm/tag/code-index/