Santosh Benjamin's Weblog

Adventures with AppFabric, BizTalk & Clouds

VS Feature Builder Power-Tool

with 3 comments


A new Architecture power tool, the Feature Builder has been announced. This is the outcome of the earlier Blueprints project. As I had written earlier, in many ways Blueprints was the successor to GAT/GAX in terms of a platform for providing executable guidance inside Visual Studio and in its first incarnation was very much an ‘incubation project’.

To quote the introductory paragraph from the MSDN Channel 9 intro video page

“Feature Builder is an official Power Tool from the Architecture Tools team within the Visual Studio Product Group enabling the rapid construction of Visual Studio Extensions (VSIXs) that combine VS Extensibility (menus, etc.) , Project/Item/T4 templates and step-by-step guidance/documentation. The output VSIX, called a Feature Extension, delivers all these things, including the guidance, directly within Visual Studio”

The MSDN Forum for this tool is here and there is a FAQ posted by David Trowbridge, the architect on the project on this thread which explains what versions of VS are needed etc. There are a number of intro videos on Channel 9

All of this now builds on the architecture & modeling capability inside VS2010, so the tool itself cannot be run in a previous version (say VS2008) (I know it should  be pretty obvious, but equally sure that someone still using VS2008 is going to ask this 🙂 ). I guess if you attach code generation to the models that you build with this, then those could emit code for solutions in .NET 3.5.

Another question that is bound to come up now is “what happens to the old P&P software factories such as the Service Factory, Web Client SF and so on“. The P&P team have blogged about refreshing the factories for GAT/GAX 2010 and there is no public information yet on what impact, if any, this Feature Builder tool will have on those factories going forward, but as soon as I hear of any plans that can be disclosed, I’ll post a follow up.

Check out the tool and send the team feedback via the MSDN forum. I expect to dive in head first now and share what I learn here. Enjoy 🙂 .

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Written by santoshbenjamin

April 2, 2010 at 2:04 PM

3 Responses

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  1. […] Feature Builder :  Now that Feature Builder has emerged as the primary vehicle for providing automated guidance, we’ve been thinking that WSCF should leverage Feature Builder. One of the reasons is that as we expand our functionality , wizards and single screen code gen dialogs are just too linear and do not provide enough guidance on what options or sets of options should be chosen for your scenario. […]

  2. power tools can really save you from a lot of headache, specially when the job is very hard “*-

  3. Hi my loved one! I wish to say that this post is awesome, great written and include approximately all vital infos. I would like to look extra posts like this .

    mql4 builder

    November 11, 2011 at 9:20 AM


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