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Implementation Strategies

[This topic is pre-release documentation and is subject to change in future releases. Blank topics are included as placeholders.]

Visual Studio supports a rich object model that you can extend with automation add-ins, macros, VSPackages, or a combination of the three. Generally, add-ins and macros are easier to develop, but are less powerful, than VSPackages. Add-ins can call Visual Studio extensibility interfaces, and Visual Studio packages (VSPackages) can access the Visual Studio automation model. You can combine these two different approaches to create an effective solution.

VSPackages can be written in unmanaged or managed code. We recommend that you write new VSPackages in managed code by using the managed package framework (MPF). Almost anything that can be written in unmanaged code can be implemented more easily and securely in managed code. However, developers can expect legacy applications written in unmanaged code to continue to run in Visual Studio 2005.

The topics in the Visual Studio SDK documentation are presented in increasing order of power and complexity. Simple VSPackages can be implemented as tool windows or can send information to Visual Studio's built-in UI elements, such as the status bar or output window. More complex applications can be written as Visual Studio hierarchies, such as the Visual Studio Server Explorer. Still more power can be obtained by implementing a project, editor, or designer. Visual C# and Visual Basic are themselves implemented as Visual Studio language projects.

Related Sections

Visual Studio SDK and Automation

Discusses using automation, VSPackages, or a combination to create Visual Studio extensibility applications.

Visual Studio SDK and Managed Code

Compares the different ways to write a VSPackage in managed code.

Visual Studio Integration Concepts

Discusses the basics of VSPackages and how to use a service.

UI Support in the Visual Studio SDK

Discusses common UI application elements in the Visual Studio SDK, such as the Status and Output windows.

Hierarchies in Visual Studio

Gives an overview of Visual Studio hierarchies, which appear in the integrated development environment (IDE) as trees of nodes.

Projects (Visual Studio SDK)

Provides an overview of project and solution classes.

Language Services

Shows how to create language projects and editors.

Visual Studio SDK Reference

Provides links to unmanaged reference topics.

See Also