Understand Visual Studio’s new extension model


Notwithstanding the immense popularity of the Visual Studio Code developer’s editor, the Visual Studio IDE is still at the heart of Microsoft’s development toolchain technique. More than 25 years of advancement have brought us a personalized advancement environment that goes a long method beyond the original typical UI for a set of development tools.Today Visual

Studio is a single application that dynamically loads the tools and languages needed to construct your job. You can preconfigure toolchains, in addition to pick and mix the features that help you deliver code. The outcome is a versatile development environment that supports modern advancement designs, including remote development and shared code. There’s even support for the most recent AI-powered coding assistants.Key to that flexibility is Visual Studio’s extension model. It allows you to build your own tools that hook into the Visual Studio environment, utilizing hooks in the UI and an integrated language server to include your own code highlighting and conclusion functions. At the heart of this design is a toolkit that assists you get over the difficulties in extension advancement, with design templates, API wrappers, and dedicated tools.That extension design is altering. In 2021 I took a look at how Visual Studio 2022 included support for 64-bit extensions, however there’s a lot more going

on than supporting a bigger address area. There’s more to be done to port existing extensionsto the brand-new environment, but porting development has actually been good, and it should be possible to reassemble your normal toolchain in 64-bit type, ready for Visual Studio 2022. Presenting VisualStudio.Extensibility The most significant modifications to Visual Studio extensions are including a completely brand-new extension design, now relabelled VisualStudio.Extensibility.

It alters the way extension code connects with Visual Studio and decreases the risk of an extension crashing or hanging your IDE.It does this by allowing extensions to run outside the Visual Studio procedure, so if one crashes or stops briefly, it will not affect the host IDE.Introducing a new extension design has actually enabled the Visual Studio team to deliver several important improvements. A brand-new set of APIs has actually been refactored and redesigned to be simpler. Sadly for developers who utilized C++ to construct extensions, the brand-new design is.NET just. This modification provides some benefits: New versions of an extension can be hot-loaded

so you can update without restarting your entire development environment. They’re cross-platform and will work on the approaching Arm release of Visual Studio without any rework. Using separate processes for extensions will eventually allow you to choose a trust level in a future Visual Studio release, for instance, locking down file system gain access to and limiting API calls to only those used by Visual Studio. Microsoft is taking a phased technique to presenting this new extension model. The first stage, with support for out-of-process extensions for usage with open documents, delivered in September 2021. The second stage has now gotten here, nearly a year later on. It won’t be the last, either; complete compatibility with the older extension design is not anticipated till after the next major release of Visual Studio. Such a slow path might seem odd, but it makes sense as Visual Studio is such a vital part of the Microsoft community that any problems, no matter how little, could wind up causing considerable problems for numerous developers. Far much better to be safe than sorry.The very first phase benefited from out-of-process operation to host extensions that evaluate and parse code, dealing with what can be quite large document trees. That can be memory-intensive, and by running in its own process, an extension can be managed by Windows’own schedulers, protecting Visual Studio. For example, you could compose a linter that loads your current document window contents, parses them, and delivers outcomes without impacting the primary Visual Studio process. A lot of code being scanned could have locked your edit window. Rather, the scan now runs in a different procedure while you continue to work, remaining in flow and in focus. Phase 2: Adding UIs to extensions The 2nd phase of the new extensibility design released recently, taking the out-of-process model much further with assistance for a remote UI structure. This uses the familiar model-view-viewmodel pattern at the heart of much of modern.NET’s UI tools. If you have actually built a MAUI app or similar, you ought to find the method used by Visual Studio extensions much the same. Extension windows can be produced inside Visual Studio, positioned straight by your code, or put automatically by Visual Studio.Windows created by this method are a flexible tool

; they can be toggled on and off

as needed with an asynchronous connection to Visual Studio.Extension windows are a vital part of adding your own tools to Microsoft’s IDE. You can envision actions or include an uncomplicated method of choosing new elements for your code. For example, if you’re writing an extension to quickly produce XAML designs for desktop applications, you might generate a window that holds a brochure of possible designs, which can be used as a picker that automatically loads a code scaffolding into your application, ready to be customized.Adding UI

to Visual Studio can be effective, and simple extension alternatives rapidly add up to productivity gains. Some of the Stage 2 alternatives allow you to include tooltips to your extensions while others add development notifications to long-running external commands. This last choice works for extensions that integrate Visual Studio into devops workflows, so you can see how an external task or test is running. These progress notices help when dealing with asynchronous operations in extensions, making sure that your users do not stop actions prior to they’re completed.There are some considerable distinctions in between this technique and conventional Windows Discussion Structure development. Possibly the most essential thing to note is that you can’t use your own controls. You can utilize only Remote UI’s own set. This is to support Visual Studio’s styles, as you do not desire your extension to clash with the remainder of the application. Style support can be added by importing style resources from the Visual Studio shell to style your extension. Another helpful function in Phase 2 is assistance for in-process APIs. This allows an extension to deal with older APIs when you’re either porting an older extension to the new model or you wish to blend older and newer functions in the very same code. This can include danger, however it’s a great way to get your extension into the Visual Studio marketplace while you wait for future phases to include APIs and features you need.Although this isn’t an open-source job, paperwork is being established and provided on GitHub. Alongside the documentation, Microsoft has delivered a set of task templates and tools for screening and debugging your own extensions through the Visual Studio Market, ready for use. This ought to offer you whatever you require to start building your own out-of-process extensions for Visual Studio. The outcome must be a more steady

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