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Modifying the Isolated Shell By Using the .Pkgdef File

The .pkgdef file supports settings that you can use to customize an isolated shell application. It specifies values that are created when an application is installed on a computer and that are referenced by the Visual Studio shell when it starts the application. The settings are organized in the file based on the applicable registry keys.

Caution note Caution

Note that .pkgdef files that are not declared in the .vsixmanifest file of the VSPackage are not scanned when Visual Studio starts.

The .pkgdef file contains sections that are each identified by a key, either [$RootKey$] or [$RootKey$\subkey], where $RootKey$ is the root key for the application.

Each section contains name/value pairs that have the following format: "ValueName"=Value.

Values are either a string that is enclosed in quotes, or a 32-bit integer that is represented as a dword. Values have the following constraints:

  • All dword values are in hexadecimal format, for example dword:00000001.

    For boolean values, 1 represents true, and 0 represents false.

  • All GUID strings are in registry format, for example, "{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}".

  • All localizable resource identifiers have the form "@resourceID" or "#resourceID", where resourceID is the resource identifier in the application UI package, for example, "@102". The application UI package is the package that is referenced in the AppLocalizationPackage setting.

For example,

"HideSolutionConcept"=dword:00000001
"DefaultDebugEngine"="{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}"

You can add comments to the .pkgdef file. A single-line comment has two slashes as the first two characters.

For a list of the substitution strings, see Substitution Strings Used in .Pkgdef and .Pkgundef Files.

The following sections describe specific registry values that affect the behavior of the Visual Studio shell in isolated mode. You can also define additional registry values for the application in this file.

NoteNote

If a setting is not provided in the .pkgdef file, then no corresponding entry is made in the registry.

The following table describes the values defined under [$RootKey$].

Name

Type

Value

AddinsAllowed

dword

True if add-ins can be loaded; otherwise, false.

The default value is true.

AllowsDroppedFilesOnMainWindow

dword

True if the main window can accept dropped files; otherwise, false. Files dropped on the main window are opened by using the OpenDocumentViaProject method. This is equivalent to opening a document by using the Open command on the File menu in the application.

The default value is true.

AppIcon

string

The full path of the program icon. This icon appears in the title bar to the left of the application name.

The default value is "$RootFolder$\solutionName.ico", where solutionName is the name of the application solution file.

AppLocalizationPackage

string

The GUID of the VSPackage that contains the UI satellite assembly for the application. This VSPackage includes a compiled version of the .vsct file and can include other localized strings. Feature sets and menu command groups can be enabled or disabled by changing the settings in the UI project .vsct file.

The default value is "{vsUiPackageGuid}", where vsUiPackageGuid is the GUID assigned to the application UI package.

AppName

string

The name of the application. The name appears in the title bar of the application window.

The default value is the name of the application solution file.

CommandLineLogo

string

The banner text when the application is run in a console window. This setting affects only applications that support command-line build operations.

The default value is "companyName solutionName Version 1.0.", where companyName is the name of the company provided when Windows was installed, and solutionName is the name of the application solution file.

DefaultDebugEngine

string

The GUID of the default debug engine to use for the application.

Note Note

An empty GUID (all zeros) indicates that the application does not specify a default debug engine. This enables the debugger to select the debug engine to use.

The default value is "{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}".

DefaultHomePage

string

The default home page URL for the internal Web browser window.

If the Home page option is available in the application, then this setting also affects the default state of the option. For more information, see Web Browser, Environment, Options Dialog Box.

The default value is the URL of the company provided when Windows was installed.

DefaultProjectsLocation

string

The full path of the default projects folder. For example,

"DefaultProjectsLocation"="$MyDocuments$\MyVSShellStub\Projects"

If the Visual Studio projects location option is available in the application, then this setting also affects the default state of the option. For more information, see General, Projects and Solutions, Options Dialog Box.

The default value is "$MyDocuments$\solutionName", where solutionName is the name of the application solution file.

DefaultSearchPage

string

The default search page URL for the internal Web browser window.

If the Search page option is available in the application, then this setting also affects the default state of the option. For more information, see Web Browser, Environment, Options Dialog Box.

The default value is "http://search.live.com".

DefaultUserFilesFolderRoot

string

The name of the user folder, relative to the current user's My Documents folder.

The default value is the name of the application solution file.

DisableOutputWindow

dword

Indicates whether the isolated shell should treat the output window as disabled.

If this value is set to true, Visual Studio does not display the solution build manager output in the Output window and hides the Show Output window when build starts check box in the Projects and Solutions category in the Options dialog box.

The default value is false.

HideMiscellaneousFilesByDefault

dword

True to hide the Miscellaneous Files folder by default in Solution Explorer; otherwise, false.

If the Show Miscellaneous files in Solution Explorer option is available in the application, then this setting also affects the default state of the option. For more information, see Documents, Environment, Options Dialog Box.

The default value is false.

HideSolutionConcept

dword

True to create all projects as stand-alone projects and hide the solution and solution-related commands for stand-alone projects by default; otherwise, false.

If the Always show solution option is available in the application, then this setting also affects the default state of the option. For more information, see General, Projects and Solutions, Options Dialog Box.

The default value is false.

NewProjDlgInstalledTemplatesHdr

string

The name for the Visual Studio nstalled templates header in the Templates list in the New Project dialog box. This is either a string or a localizable resource identifier that is loaded from the application UI package.

The default value is "solutionName installed templates", where solutionName is the name of the application solution file.

NewProjDlgSlnTreeNodeTitle

string

The name for the Visual Studio Solutions node in the Project types tree in the New Project dialog box. This is either a string or a localizable resource identifier that is loaded from the application UI package.

The default value is "solutionName installed templates", where solutionName is the name of the application solution file.

SolutionFileCreatorIdentifier

string

The application identifier, which appears as the second line in the solution files that are generated by the application. This line indicates the application that created the file. By convention, this value includes both the name of the application and the application version number. For example,

"SolutionFileCreatorIdentifier"="MyVSShellStub Solution File, Format Version 10.00"

The VSLauncher.exe program, which is the default program for opening a Visual Studio solution file, uses this second line to determine the version of Visual Studio in which to open the solution file. The application would require its own launcher to handle its associated solution files. The launcher could also use this second line in the solution file to determine in which version of the application to open the solution.

NoteNote

The Visual Studio VSLauncher.exe program does not handle .sln files that were created by an isolated shell application.

The default value is "solutionName Solution File, Format Version 10.00", where solutionName is the name of the application solution file.

SolutionFileExt

string

The solution filename extension for the application. We recommend that you choose a unique filename extension (not.sln).

The default value is "solutionName_sln", where solutionName is the name of the application solution file.

SplashScreenBitmap

string

The full path of the bitmap file for the splash screen for the application.

The default value is "$RootFolder$\Splash.bmp".

ThisVersionDTECLSID

string

The class identifier (CLSID) of the automation object for the application.

The application automation object is the top-level object for the application in the Visual Studio shell automation model and implements the EnvDTE._DTE interface.

If the application automation object is correctly registered under the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID registry key, then you can use the CComPtrBase::CoCreateInstance function to directly create an instance of the application.

The Visual Studio shell uses this CLSID to register the application automation object in the Running Object Table (ROT) by using the ACTIVEOBJECT_WEAK flag. This lets you use the GetActiveObject Functionfunction to retrieve a pointer to a running instance of the application. In addition, if you define a ProgID for the application automation object, then the Visual Studio shell also registers each instance of the application in the ROT by using an item moniker of the form progID:processID, where progID is the ProgID of the application automation object, and processID is the process identifier for that instance of the application. For example, if you create a moniker as follows:

CreateItemMoniker(L"!", instanceString , &instanceMoniker)

where instanceString is the progID:processID string. then you could use instanceMoniker with the ROT GetObject function to get the instance.

If the ThisVersionDTECLSID setting is omitted, then the application is not exposed through the Component Object Model (COM). In this case, an instance of the application cannot be created by calling the CComPtrBase::CoCreateInstance function and cannot be registered in the ROT.

Each version of a VSPackage must have a different CLSID.

The default value is the GUID that Visual Studio generated for the automation object of the application.

ThisVersionSolutionCLSID

string

The CLSID of the solution object for the application.

The solution automation object contains information about the current open solution in an instance of the application and implements the EnvDTE._Solution interface.

If the solution automation object is correctly registered under the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID registry key, then you can use the CComPtrBase::CoCreateInstance function to directly create a solution object for the application.

The Visual Studio shell uses this CLSID to register the solution automation object in the ROT by using the ACTIVEOBJECT_WEAK flag.

If this setting is omitted, then the solution class is not registered with the Component Object Model (COM), and a solution object cannot be created by calling the CComPtrBase::CoCreateInstance function and cannot be registered in the ROT.

The default value is a GUID that Visual Studio generated for the solution object of the application.

UserFilesSubFolderName

string

The name of the subfolder under the user's My Documents folder in which the application creates user files and subfolders.

The default value is the name of the application solution file.

UserOptsFileExt

string

The extension for solution user options files for the application.

The default value is the name of the application solution file.

The [$RootKey$\BindingPaths\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}] key contains the list of directories that the shell checks for assemblies. These directories are added to the list of directories that the shell probes for private assemblies for the application.

By default, no binding-path entries are added to the .pkgdef file. However, the following subdirectories of the Visual Studio installation directory are automatically added to the application binding-path list in the registry.

  • Common7\IDE\

  • Common7\IDE\\PrivateAssemblies

  • Common7\IDE\\PublicAssemblies

To add a directory to the binding path, add an entry of the form "directoryName"="", where directoryName is an absolute path. For example,

[$RootKey$\BindingPaths\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}]
"$RootFolder$\directory1"=""
"%CommonProgramFiles%\directory2"=""

The following table describes the values that are defined for each associated package under [$RootKey$\Profile].

Name

Type

Value

AutoSaveFile

string

The directory in which the application stores auto-save files.

The default value is "$RootFolder$\Profiles\CurrentSettings.vssettings".

The following table describes the values that are defined under [$RootKey$\Packages\{vsPackageGuid}\SatelliteDll] for the satellite DLL of each associated package, where vsPackageGuid is the GUID of the associated package.

Name

Type

Value

DllName

string

The file name of the DLL.

The default value is "solutionNameui.dll", where solutionName is the name of the application solution file.

Path

string

The directory that contains the satellite DLL.

The default value is "$PackageFolder$".

The [$RootKey$\Menus] registry key defines UI resource files for the application.

Menu item values have the form "{vsUiPackageGuid}"=", resourceId, versionNumber", where vsUiPackageGuid is the GUID of the application UI package, resourceId is the resource identifier of the CTMENU resource that contains the UI elements, and versionNumber is a virtual version number for the CTMENU resource. For more information, see Registering Interop Assembly Command Handlers.

By default, a menu item entry is created in the .pkgdef file for the application UI package.

For each package that provides menu items and that is distributed as a part of the application, add a menu item entry for the package.

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