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Custom Extension Types with VSIX
Shaikh Izaj Ahmed
Using the Microsoft.VisualStudio.ExtensionManager.dll when you create an extension may have short term advantages but it does come with a health warning. Aaron Marten explains.
DISCLAIMER: While the following technique is supported in Visual Studio 2010, the interfaces and methods exposed by Microsoft.VisualStudio.ExtensionManager.dll are likely to change in future Visual Studio releases. If you create an extension that relies on Microsoft.VisualStudio.ExtensionManager.dll, there is no guarantee that your extension binary will work on future Visual Studio releases without code changes.
If you've used the VSIX Manifest editor when creating an extension for Visual Studio 2010, you may have noticed the various options when you add content to the VSIX container. Clicking the "Add Content" button will bring up a dialog that allows you to select a content type.
Most of the choices are well-known types that Visual Studio already knows how to consume:
* Project/Item Template: A collection of VSTemplate zip files from which a user can create projects and project items.
* Template Wizard: An assembly (distributed with one or more VSTemplates) that contains a template wizard extension to show UI or perform custom logic at template instantiation time.
* VS Package: A PkgDef file containing configuration information for a VSPackage.
* MEF Component: An assembly to be queried and consumed by the VS MEF Host for extending the core text editor and other MEF-based subsystems in the IDE.
* Toolbox Control: An assembly containing one or more controls to publish on the Toolbox for use in the various UI designers in Visual Studio.
You may be wondering what the "Custom Extension Type" entry (highlighted above) is and why you would want to use it.
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