Posted by Dan Rigsby on May 21st, 2009
Since PDC 2008 we have been hearing about the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) support in Visual Studio 2010. Now that the Beta has been released, we can start to see how it is coming together. To access the MEF extensions, just open the Extension Manager from the menu bar: Tools –> Extension Manager.
It appears that we will have a host of categories for different types extensions. You can choose from “Installed Extensions” or browse the “Online Gallery”. The major categories are:
- ASP.Net Controls
- Framework & Libraries
- Sharepoint Controls
- Silverlight Controls
- Windows Forms Controls
- WPF Controls
- Windows Forms
- Programming & Languages
- Setup & Deployment
- Source Control
- Team Development
Currently there are only 12 extensions available, and none appear to be new UI controls. Some of them are pretty interesting, but I am excited about what this could lead to. You seem to be able to extend quite a few areas of Visual Studio now!
Some of the more interesting existing extensions are:
I haven’t been able to find the WPF xml document visualizer that they showed off at PDC 2008. Hopefully this will show up in the gallery soon along with other useful nuggets.
I wonder if this will turn into a platform for pushing out new controls to use in our applications in between releases. It was disappointing to not find any new controls in the toolbox when working with WinForms or WPF. It is also unclear about how a developer can submit new extensions that be browsed through the gallery.