SharePoint Conference 2009: Visual Studio Extensability Features

So the dev tools for SharePoint 2010 are pretty cool, or should I say extensible to be cool. Microsoft has, as with VS2010, said that they will not be able to make all the cool stuff as we as SharePoint devs will want to have included in Visual Studio. So…they use the new MEF (managed extensibility framework…I think) model to allow us as SharePoint devs to extend the VS experience to fit our needs.

And does it work?
Hell yeah!

In SharePoint 2007 (and VS 2008) it was a bit tricky to do customization, or so I have heard from people who have tried it like Tony Restaino who makes SPVisualDev for example.
VSIX is a new packaging model that makes writing an extension into VS super easy and nicely deployable.

Ted Pattison showed us how to write a couple of easy extensions in VS 2010 and how to interact with the editor and designers. It seems that you now can do pretty much anything as long as you remember that SharePoint 2010 runs in 64 bit and VS 2010 runs 32 bit. But even for that we now have help available through a sort of proxy that helps along with that as Ted showed us.

Finally, Jon Flanders showed how he had built a custom designer (in WPF) for editing that horrific schema.xml file. So we can now add a new menu option to the schema file that says “open in designer” that opens up the WPF UI for editing the schema file (a screenshot is shown below).
Since you now have access (in the API) to the content in Visual Studio in a much easier way we can synchronize the changes we make in the editor with the underlying xml file (at least that is how I think that Jon made this designer).

Looking forward to playing around with these tools and writing lots of cool stuff. I already have couple of new ideas in stock.


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