INFO: Testing a Visual Studio add-in against new Visual Studio tools or extensions from Microsoft.

Author: Carlos J. Quintero (Microsoft MVP) Applies to: Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
Date: March 2009   Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
Updated: March 2013   Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
      Microsoft Visual Studio 2012

Microsoft Visual Studio provides some project types out of the box, such as VB.NET / C# projects, SQL Server database projects, Smart Device projects, etc. However, due to the development of new technologies on top of the .NET Framework (such as Silverlight, Windows Azure services, SharePoint services, etc.) Microsoft provides new project types for those new technologies through tools or extensions for Visual Studio that are downloaded separately and once installed are integrated inside it.

More Information

Most of the new project types are "flavored projects", which are project types derived from VB.NET/C# types but specialized. You can know the project flavor as explained in these articles:

New project types can introduce new icons for project/project items, new file types that can contain text, code or designers, etc. so your add-in can have features that may not work correctly and need to be tested to support them or fail gracefully.

Some of these extensions for Visual Studio from Microsoft are:

Note: Visual Studio extensions for SharePoint require a server version of Windows for development, they can't be installed or debugged on Windows XP/Vista. But just for the purposing of testing an add-in/package, you can install then on Windows XP/Vista with a registry trick explained here: Install VS 2005/2008 extensions for SharePoint on Windows XP/Vista OS.

And there are others that are still in CTP / Beta status at the time of this writing such as:

Related articles

Go to the 'Visual Studio Extensibility (VSX)' web site for more articles like this (Articles section)