Using Guidance Packages

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Guidance Packages are named collections of assets, such as recipes and templates, that all work together to help developers perform a set of development tasks defined by the package's author. Guidance Packages must be first installed on the developer's computer and then enabled from within Visual Studio to be usable.

As a developer uses a Guidance Package in their Visual Studio Solution, the Guidance Automation Extensions will store information about how the Guidance Package is used in the solution into a file named <SolutionName>.gpstate in the solution folder. The following information is stored in the .gpstate file:

  • Bound references and their initial state
  • Unbound references and their initial state
  • A list of Guidance Packages that have been enabled on the solution (with version numbers)
  • For each Guidance Package, a flag that says if the binding recipe has been executed for that Guidance Package
  • Version information for the Guidance Package

You should not delete the .gpstate file, because it will cause the solution to lose this information.

By default, the .gpstate file is not added as a solution item in the Visual Studio solution. If a team of developers is working on the same solution and the team wants to share Guidance Package state, the .gpstate file can be added to the solution and checked into source control. If several developers make changes to the Guidance Package state in their solutions at the same time, it will be necessary to merge the changes in the .gpstate file when it is checked in. Another important consideration when using Guidance Packages in a team environment is ensuring that each developer has every Guidance Package required by the solution installed, and that the versions are the same. If there is a mismatch between Guidance Packages or versions installed by different developers, the Guidance Automation Extensions will delete any state that applies to Guidance Packages that are not installed.

This section demonstrates how developers can use a Guidance Package in their environments.

See also

Installing a Guidance Package | Enabling a Guidance Package | Uninstalling a Guidance Package | Launching Templates | Launching Bound and Unbound Recipes | Using the Guidance Navigator | Running Guidance Packages in the Experimental Hive