Announcing Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Applications (VSTA) CTP

Today we launched the first public release of Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Applications (VSTA) Community Technology Preview (CTP). VSTA is a .NET-based application customization technology designed to be embedded into applications to enable developers to create custom experiences on top of those applications.


Bringing application customization into the .NET Era

Over the past nine years, Microsoft has successfully supported packaged software vendors, tools vendors and systems integrators who need to extend and customize their applications to better meet end-user needs at reduced cost and effort.  VSTA will continue Microsoft’s leadership in development tools started by Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), first shipped with Microsoft products in 1993 and made available to other software vendors in 1996.  VSTA delivers a significantly enhanced customization environment that takes advantage of technology introduced with the .NET Framework to provide the next generation of application customization technology. We understand that moving applications and users to a new platform is difficult. To ease this transition we have designed VSTA to operate side by side with VBA in the same host application.


ISV, enterprise and end user benefits

VSTA broadens the opportunity for ISVs to win during the Request for Proposal (RFP) process and other competitive bid scenarios through their ability to “say yes” to specific customer needs at reduced risk and cost. In addition to the managed code environment in VB.NET and C#, ISVs and systems integrators also benefit from powerful underlying .NET platform technology.


Enterprise users benefit from having a consistent integrated development environment (IDE) across their Microsoft and third party applications. ISV’s can target the entire enterprise with VSTA, from the professional developer using the Visual Studio Team System IDE or the information worker macro recording using the embedded VSTA IDE.


End users benefit from a secure, managed code environment and customization framework that allows their software development departments to uplevel customization efforts without syntax limitations through integration with professional developer tools such as Visual Studio Tools for Office or Visual Studio.


Licensing VSTA

Although the licensing model has not been finalized I can say that VSTA will have a competitive licensing model that will make it cost effective for ISVs to integrate VSTA into their applications. VSTA licensing will follow a transparent model of either per seat or royalty based. More details will follow shortly as soon as they are ready.


Giant step forward

Today is a giant step forward for the future of application customization and VSTA technology. We are working with a select few of our ISV partners who are integrating VSTA. One of our first partners is Microsoft InfoPath 2007 which will enable users to customize InfoPath forms using VSTA. This is an exciting time for VSTA as we continue to gather customer feedback and add new features to make VSTA the best application customization platform.


The VSTA SDK is installed as part of the Visual Studio SDK.  Download VSTA from and see how easy it is to enable application customizations in your solutions today.

KD Hallman
General Manager






Comments (19)

  1. P says:

    Why not free? What are you doing..

  2. Congratulations to the VSTA team, the first public release of VSTA is now live and available to the world!…

  3. Corporate Developer says:

    Will there be a no-cost license made available for use of VSTA in non-commercial, in-house business applications, as was done for VBA / VSA?

  4. Stephane Rodriguez says:

    If VSTA follows the same licensing than the VB IDE cash cow had so far, then you’ll turn down 99% of potential partners out there. After all, who needs Visual Studio to edit/debug .NET code when you can get Jeff Key’s code snippet for free, perhaps combined with Mike Stall’s free MDBG tool? In other words, there are a lot of reasons to avoid hosting Visual Studio altogether. My 2 cents.

  5. 첫 Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Application(VSTA) CTP가 나왔습니다. VSTA는 Visual Studio SDK에 포함됩니다. 자신의 제품을…

  6. Mike says:

    Great I’m looking forward to it;

  7. Announcing Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Applications (VSTA) CTP.

    CTP stands for Community Technology…

  8. Sam Gentile says:

    I am so swamped with work that I have not been able to blog. I have a ton of stuff I want to write…

  9. I couldn’t get any of the samples to work, it complains about a missing reference to the Microsoft.VisualStudio.Tools.Applications.Adapter assembly – which is not located in the GAC.

    (I ran the javascript-file before opening the solution, if that has anything to do with it).


    Lars Wilhelmsen

  10. Before you run the samples you must install VSTA first. You can do this by running

    MsiExec.exe /i vsta_aide.msi VSTAINVS=1

    this will install VSTA Runtime and IDE and give you support to run VSTA projects in VS.

  11. osru says:

    Hi everyone! I think your site is very interesting and useful. I always bookmarked it.

  12. SSIS Stuff says:

    Improved Scripting SQL Server 2008 (Katmai) introduces VSTA as our new scripting engine, which replaces

  13. Improved Scripting SQL Server 2008 (Katmai) introduces VSTA as our new scripting engine, which replaces

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