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Contributing to the Automation Model

Visual Studio provides a programming interface known as the automation model, a set of powerful interfaces for customizing the environment. The automation model is the object model that enables end users to create Visual Studio add-ins and extensions.

Both add-ins and VSPackages let you customize the end user experience, but VSPackages offer you control over the most basic functions of the IDE. You can use the automation model together with a VSPackage in order to provide a rich end-user experience.

In addition, it is appropriate for you, as a VSPackage developer, to contribute to the automation model; by doing this, you enable end users of your VSPackage to create add-ins and generally provide a consistent user model experience when they use your VSPackage in Visual Studio.

To make the end-user experience consistent, you can follow a set of guidelines as you design your VSPackage so that the automation model for your VSPackage follows the ideas in Visual Studio.

Automation Model Overview

Defines the automation model as a related groups of objects that control major facets of the common environment. This set of objects is pictured in a diagram of the automation model.

Providing Automation for VSPackages

Discusses the two main ways to provide automation for your VSPackage.

Exposing Project Objects

Provides step-by-step instructions for creating VSPackage-specific objects.

Project Modeling

Explains the standard project objects that are required to create automation for your new project type and illustrates the path that project automation follows. This topic also provides listings of declarations and implementation for classes.

Exposing Events in the Visual Studio SDK

Provides step-by-step instructions for creating events for your automation model.

Automation Support for Options Pages

Describes how to return an automation object for supporting properties of a VSPackage's custom Options dialog box on the Tool menu by extending the DTE.Properties object.

Providing Automation for Code

Explains that creating an automation model for your code is not required. However, a link is provided in this topic that provides insightful information into code models.

How to: Provide Automation for Windows

Explains that providing automation is a good idea whenever you want to make automation objects available on a window, and the environment does not already provide a ready-made automation object. Discusses automation for tool windows and document windows.

Using the Automation Model

Provides two code examples that show how an automation consumer obtains the initial project automation objects.

Automation for Configuration and SelectedItem Objects

Provides information about automation for Configuration Options and automation for Selected Items.


Provides a code sample that shows how a VSPackage participates in the DTE automation object model. Lists parameters, return values, and selected remarks.

Extending the Automation Model

Discusses how the automation model and the VSPackage model represent a two-prong approach to extensibility in the Visual Studio environment.

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