Monday, March 13, 2023

Please help improve the extensibility experience in Visual Studio

 Based on your solution, you might need to install extra components for a full development experience

Have you ever seen the above prompt (or something very like it) inside Visual Studio?

It's displayed when a solution is loaded that requires workloads or components that aren't currently installed.

Those requirements are specified inside a .vsconfig config file.

The idea is that VS will tell you if you haven't got the things the project owners/creators/maintainers have specified as necessary to work with a project installed.
You can then click on the "Install" text link, and it will install the things you are missing.

But what if you want to require (or recommend) that an extension is installed to work with the solution?

Well, then you're stuck. 

You're forced to include this in the documentation and hope that someone looks at them. Ideally when setting up their environment, or--more likely--when things aren't working as expected and they want to know why.

Obviously, this is far from ideal and can be a barrier (I think) to the creation of specific extensions to fill the gaps in individual projects. - I have had multiple discussions where custom extensions were ruled out because it is too difficult to get everyone working on the code base to install the extensions. We ended up with sub-standard solutions requiring documentation ad custom scripts. :(

Wouldn't it be great if the existing infrastructure for detecting missing components could be extended to detect missing extensions too?

Well, it's currently under consideration. Maybe you've got a moment to help highlight the need for this by giving the suggestion an upvote. 👍

Thank you, please. :)


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