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Creating loosely coupled applications that can be extended after deployment can be difficult. You have many design decisions to make, including identifying and loading extensions that have been deployed, and making application services available to loaded extensions. The Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) is an open source library created by Microsoft designed to reduce the complexity of creating extensible applications. It enables you to expose reusable parts of your application to plug-ins or extensions that are discovered and loaded at run time and design your application in a loosely coupled fashion.
Visual Studio 2015 uses the MEF library to provide extension points for both the Visual Studio IDE shell and the main editor control. It is expected that in the future, more areas will be exposed for this kind of extension.
This chapter is split into three sections. The first section is an introduction to how MEF ...