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Managed Project System with VSXtra

If Visual Studio Extensibility has complex parts, no doubt, the Project System (managing the project hierarchy, project content editing, build, deployment, etc) is one of them. Currently the Managed Package Framework does not support creating your own project system and the related MSDN documentation is not an easy reading.

Microsoft has prepared a so-called MPFProj framework for developing Visual Studio project systems with managed code. MPFProj is not a binary. It is actually a few dozen of source files that should be added to your custom project system source. When VS 2008 SDK 1.0 was released, MPFProj source files were installed as a part of VS SDK. With the release of VS 2008 SDK 1.1 the situation changed. MPFProj is no longer released with the SDK. From August 14th it is available as the Visual Studio Managed Package Framework for Projects (MPFProj) on CodePlex with Ms-PL license. The project itself does not have releases yet, only the source can be downloaded. This time coordinators are Aaron Marten and Gareth Jones.

I have also downloaded the source code and the accompanied documentation. I decided to examine the code and build a Managed Project System using the existing components of VSXtra. My aim is to improve the developer experience on building custom project systems by allowing developers to create their own managed project systems with less code in a more declarative way.

I have added the VSXtra.ProjectSystem component to VSXtra, right now containing the source code downloaded from MPFProj. As the first result, VSXtra.ProjectSystem is now a separate component.

In the next weeks I examine the code and establish my refactoring strategy. If I have progress in the next few days, I report it in my presentation on the VSX Developer Conference (look for session VSX108 on September 16).


Posted Sep 03 2008, 08:18 AM by inovak
Filed under: , , ,

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