Features in the Visual Studio 2008 Shell (Integrated Mode)

The Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Shell (integrated mode) provides a version of Visual Studio that includes the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) and debugger, and source control integration. No programming language is included. Although the integrated Shell does not include programming languages, it does provide a framework that lets you add programming languages.

The following table lists Visual Studio features that are supported in the integrated Shell.

Feature Area


Language Support

  • None


  • Settings

    • Create settings

    • Import and export settings

    • Reset settings

  • Toolbox integration

  • Task List integration

  • Help integration

  • Options dialog box

  • Fonts and colors management

  • Output window

  • Command window

  • Window management

  • Commands, menus, and key bindings

  • Domain-specific language (DSL) runtime

  • Licensing

Project System and Project Types

  • Solutions and solution folders

  • Solution configuration manager

  • Item management

  • Single-project and multi-project solutions

  • Application Designer (simplified project properties)

  • Add Web Reference

  • Add Service Reference

  • Single-project

  • Web site project types

  • Web application projects


  • Custom build steps in IDE

  • Pre-compilation for intellectual property (IP) protection

  • Code signing



  • Code browsing tools (unified find, source definition, inheritance)

  • Code navigation

  • IntelliSense

  • SmartTags

  • Refactoring

  • Pretty listing

  • IntelliSense filtering

  • Code Definition window


  • Windows Presentation Foundation Designer

  • Windows Forms Designer

  • Web Designer and HTML Editor


  • Server Explorer (Simplified: data only). See Note 1.

  • Data Sources window

  • Full set of data controls

  • XML Editor

  • Data bind to local data source (.MDF or .MDB)

  • Data bind to object

  • Data bind to Web service

  • Data bind to local database server

  • Data bind to remote database server

  • DDL tools for remote data

  • Server Explorer extensibility (Visual Studio SDK samples)


  • Local debugging. See Note 2.

  • Managed debugging

  • Local debugging

  • Attach to local process

  • Attach to remote process

  • Anonymous delegate

  • Application domains

  • ASPX Debugging

  • Attributes

  • Break during Func-eval

  • Breakpoints

  • Breakpoint constraints

  • Callstack

  • Command window

  • Cross-thread debugging

  • Data Tips

  • Data visualizer

  • Debugger support for managed debugging assistants (MDAs)

  • Debugger support for type forwarder

  • DTEEvents support for OTB

  • JMC Stepper

  • Debugger AppID test (DBGCLR)

  • Debugger profile

  • Debugger tools and options

  • Debugging iterator

  • Design-time expression evaluation

  • C# Expression Evaluator

  • Disassembly

  • Edit and Continue

  • Expression evaluator windows (Watch, Locals, Autos)

  • Exception Helper

  • Exceptions

  • Execution

  • Generics

  • Getting right source

  • HPC/Cluster debugging

  • Integrated multi-language debugging

  • InterOp debugging

  • Just-in-time debugging

  • Local debugging

  • Managed debugging

  • Manual control (Processes window)

  • Memory

  • MiniDump support

  • Modules

  • Multi-process debugging

  • Native debugging

  • New debug engine support

  • Optimized code debugging

  • Output windows filtering

  • Process hosting for managed debugging

  • Processes

  • Quickwatch

  • Registers

  • Registers in stack

  • Remote debugging

  • Return values

  • Script debugging

  • Source service support

  • Security

  • Side-by-side

  • SQL

  • Symbol server

  • Trace points

  • Thread

  • Visualizations

  • Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) debugger

64-bit Support

  • 64-bit debugging for both managed and native code, all languages

  • x64 native support

Source Code Control (SCC)

  • Basic SCC integration. See Note 3.

  • Tools and options verification


  • Consume add-ins

  • Consume VSPackages

  • Play back macros

  • Create macros

Note 1. Data Tools

The integrated Shell includes database development tools that are comparable to those that are available in the Standard version of Visual Studio. These tools include data extensibility support and the simplified Solution Explorer. However, SQL Server Express, SQL Reporting, and Crystal Reports are not included in the integrated Shell.

Note 2. Debugging Support

The integrated Shell includes the same debugging engine that is included in the Standard version of Visual Studio. The debugging engine includes the common debugger for managed code, and also related features, such as Run, Attach, Set Breakpoint, Edit and Continue, and others. However, the debugging engine does not support SQL Server database debugging.

Although support for native debugging is included in the basic debugger package, you cannot extend it to support additional languages.

Note 3. Source-Code Control Integration

The integrated Shell provides APIs for implementing source-code control (SCC) and for providing the MSSCCI-based common source control integration components.

Although SCC integration is not a regular feature of the Standard edition of Visual Studio, SCC integration is provided in the integrated Shell to enhance the extensibility of Visual Studio.

Note 4. Build Support

The integrated Shell includes MSBuild. Documentation in Visual Studio and Visual Studio Integration SDK provide Help for MSBuild. For reference documentation, see MSBuild Reference. For more information, see Supplementary Information Sources.

The following is a list of features that are not included the integrated Shell:

  • Class Designer

  • Pre-Emptive DotFuscator

  • Language features

  • VSHost

  • No Visual Studio languages (Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++) or their associated project templates or project item templates, are included in the integrated Shell. No language-specific implementations of other features are included, for example, Visual Basic Code Snippets.

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