O'Reilly logo

Mastering Visual Studio .NET by Jon Flanders, Ian Griffiths, Chris Sells

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 8. Automation, Macros, and Add-ins

Once you have been working with VS.NET for a while, you will discover that you often perform certain tasks over and over. The particular tasks you need to perform will be very dependent on how you are using the IDE, what language and project types you deploy, and your own development style (or the development guidelines under which you are working). This chapter is all about how to get the IDE to automate these activities, by writing either macros or add-ins.

A macro is a snippet of VB.NET code that automates some operation in VS.NET. Macros provide a quick and easy way to automate tasks. They are straightforward to create, because VS.NET has built-in macro creation and editing features.

Macros are fairly powerful, but they have their limits, so VS.NET supports a more flexible if somewhat more complex integration interface for building add-ins. Add-ins are COM components, which means that they take more effort to create—you must compile and install add-ins before you can use them. (Macros can be written and executed on a whim—VS.NET compiles them automatically, and they do not need to be installed.) However, as well as having access to a more powerful API than macros, add-ins offer some further advantages—add-ins are easier to redistribute than macros are, and there is also no danger that anyone using your add-in might inadvertently break it when using VS.NET’s macro editor.

Tip

If you are writing functionality that you want to distribute ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required