Visual Studio Extension

We generate a lot of documentation here on my project. This includes a lot of screen shots. Previously it was a painful process to generate a screen shot in the format required by our customer. So some developers implemented a plug in for Visual C++ 6.0 to help with the chore. Those were some good times. You can do the same thing with the latest Visual Studio Team Explorer. Today I will discuss some facets of such an exercise.

The user interface you may want to customize is the Team Explorer Client. Now to actually implement a plug in (AKA extension) to this tool you need Visual Studio Standard Edition and the SDK. In other words, you cannot do such fun things with just the Express Edition.

Start by creating a new project with Visual Studio. Choose Extensibility and make sure Visual Studio Integration Package is selected as the template. Next you must manually remove references to version 9.0.0 of TeamFoundation. Replace it with version 2.0. You also should make the base class of your package PluginHostPackage. I don’t know why Microsoft did not make the Wizard automatically do these things for you.

Then you just need to provide a new implementation for the OnCreateService method. In there you make code changes to implement the plug in behavior you desire. Note that there may be some issues when you try to roll out the changes. Part of this depends on whether the SDK has been deployed on the target platform. Use another tool called Package Load Analyzer (which comes with the SDK) to debug issues. Maybe I will cover that tool in a future blog post. Enjoy.