Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Like your own, inside the firewall Extension Gallery for VS2012? Inmeta's Got Gallery (free and open source too)

Jakob Ehn - Using Private Extension Galleries in Visual Studio 2012

Note: The installer and the complete source code is available over at CodePlex at the following location:

Extensions and addins are everywhere in the Visual Studio ALM ecosystem! Microsoft releases new cool features in the form of extensions and the list of 3rd party extensions that plug into Visual Studio just keeps growing. One of the nice things about the VSIX extensions is how they are deployed. Microsoft hosts a public Visual Studio Gallery where you can upload extensions and make them available to the rest of the community. Visual Studio checks for updates to the installed extensions when you start Visual Studio, and installing/updating the extensions is fast since it is only a matter of extracting the files within the VSIX package to the local extension folder.

But for custom, enterprise-specific extensions, you don’t want to publish them online to the whole world, but you still want an easy way to distribute them to your developers and partners. This is where Private Extension Galleries come into play. In Visual Studio 2012, it is now possible to add custom extensions galleries that can point to any URL, as long as that URL returns the expected content of course (see below).Registering a new gallery in Visual Studio is easy, but there is very little docXVentation on how to actually host the gallery.

Visual Studio galleries uses Atom Feed XML as the protocol for delivering new and updated versions of the extensions. This MSDN page describes how to create a static XML file that returns the information about your extensions. This approach works, but require manual updates of that file every time you want to deploy an update of the extension.

Wouldn’t it be nice with a web service that takes care of this for you, that just lets you drop a new version of your VSIX file and have it automatically detect the new version and produce the correct Atom Feed XML?

Well search no more, this is exactly what the Inmeta Visual Studio Gallery Service does for you :-)



You had me at "...complete source code is available over at CodePlex at the following location:"

I dig the thought of this, having our own internal Extension Gallery. I know we've been able to have alternate NuGet repositories since day one, but nuget's are not extensions ("No! Really!?" ). There's been a few other Alternate Extension Galleries I think I've also seen, but the Inmeta Visual Studio Gallery Service looks like it's opening the Gallery doors to all, making is click-click-click easy for everyone to set one up. Nice!

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