The Visual Studio extensibility ecosystem has been steadily growing in the past years and the community has built some really great extensions. Some of these extensions are specific to web development scenarios and are useful to almost all web developers using Visual Studio.
That’s exactly the problem Web Extension Pack was created to fix. It’s an unofficial extension created by the Visual Studio Web Team that describes itself as the easiest way to set up Visual Studio for the ultimate web development experience. It installs web development specific extensions that has proven themselves over time to be stable and add a lot of value to web developers.
Here are some of the extensions that are included:
- Bootstrap Snippet Pack
- Browser Reload on Save
- Browser Sync
- Image Optimizer
- Web Analyzer
See the full list of extensions here.
An extension can be selected to be part of Web Extension Pack when it is:
- Stable – the extension won’t crash or hang Visual Studio
- Open source – gives the community a chance to participate
- Useful to the majority of web developers
- Curated by the Visual Studio Web Team
When installed, Web Extension Pack will look to see if Visual Studio is missing some of the extensions and if it does it will install them. It shows this progress dialog when installing extensions:
This all happens really fast and when all the missing extensions have been installed, the user is prompted to restart Visual Studio. Restarting is optional of course, but the installed extensions aren’t usable until a restart happens.
If there are some of the extensions being installed you don’t want, you can simply disable them in the Tools –> Extensions and Updates… dialog.
Another really cool thing is that when new extensions have been selected to be part of the Web Extension Pack, you don’t have to do anything to get this new extension. Web Extension Pack installs it automatically for you. Think of it as a push model where new features are being delivered to you automatically.
This is the first time we offer an extension like this and we would love your feedback. Did we select the right extensions? Should this concept be expanded to non-web scenarios too? Is it a great idea? Please sound off in the comments below.