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Deploying a Shell Instance

When you create a VSPackage to extend Visual Studio, you can deploy your VSPackage in Visual Studio, the Visual Studio Shell (integrated mode) or the Visual Studio Shell (isolated mode). The following provides an overview of how to target each scenario.

Targeting Visual Studio is the same as in earlier releases of the Visual Studio SDK. For more information, see VSPackage Development and Deployment Considerations for Windows Vista.

Note Note:

Visual Studio Express editions are not extensible.

Development and deployment of VSPackages for the integrated Shell resembles the Visual Studio scenario. To create the Shell, your Setup program must include the Visual Studio 2008 Shell (integrated mode) Redistributable Package, and also your VSPackage and any other assets that you may have. The Shell Load key is not required when you deploy the integrated Shell.

Creating a VSPackage for the isolated Shell differs from the other scenarios in the following two ways:

  • You must create your own stub .exe.

  • VSPackages are registered differently.

There is both source-level and binary-level compatibility for VSPackages across Visual Studio and the Visual Studio Shell.

The isolated Shell stub .exe file is logically equivalent to the Visual Studio devenv.exe. The stub .exe is automatically created by the New Project wizard when you create a Visual Studio Shell project.

Your Setup program must install this stub .exe, your VSPackage, and the redistributable Shell package.

You must also create package definition (.pkgdef) files that contain the registry information that you would typically apply to the system registry if you were targeting Visual Studio or the integrated Shell. If you are using the managed package framework (MPF) for your extension, you can produce package definition files by using the /pkgdeffile switch with the regpkg.exe tool that is included in the Visual Studio SDK. For more information, see the Walkthrough: A Basic Isolated Shell Custom Tool.

You must put the .pkgdef files in a special folder together with your VSPackage binary. Your instance of the stub .exe automatically detects and installs your VSPackage when you run it by using the /setup switch. You typically run <yourStubName>.exe /setup as a custom action in your Setup program.