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In line with vision to constantly improve our tools for extending .NET applications and deliver these improvements to our customers via continuous stream
of updates, we have just released Extensbility Studio 3.0. I'd like to outline the major changes in this release.


Installation improvements


Starting with 3.0 all major releases of Extensibility Studio support side-by-side installations, allowing two versions such as 3.0 and 2.0 to co-exist
on the same computer. This means that you can have two (or more) sets of core libraries and tools, demo projects, Visual Studio extensions and control
tabs in Visual Studio Toolbox.



For this feature to work, we have to use versioned assembly names such as Alternet.Common.v3.dll as opposed to "generic" names such as Alternet.Common.dll.
Otherwise Visual Studio will not be able to resolve project references to these assembly names correctly and to display their content on the Visual
Studio Toolbox at design-time. 








Please note that side-by-side installation will not be supported for minor updates and service packs, which will have the same versioned assembly names.
Instead Upgrade installation mode will be supported for minor releases.



To facilitate migrating your projects from one version to another we have added a Project Converter tool that updates references
in project files as well as information in .licx and .xaml files so these projects can be compiled with the new version of Extensibility Studio.







Extensibility Studio installation user interface has been updated to reflect on AlterNET Software branding and to work better on high-resolution screens.
It also allows to specify folders where core assemblies and demo projects are installed and to activate your license at the end of the installation.

Furthermore, Extensibility Studio installation now supports Modify and Repair modes and Upgrade mode for minor releases.






Code Editor improvements


We have reworked the syntax highlighting and code completion engine for Roslyn-based C# and Visual Basic parsers: instead of our own implementation these
features now rely on Microsoft Roslyn internal classification and code completion services, so they work the same way as in Visual Studio Code Editor.
Some of these services are implemented in additional libraries: Microsoft.CodeAnalisys.Features.dll, Microsoft.CodeAnalisys.Features.CSharp.dll and
Microsoft.CodeAnalisys.Features.VisualBasic.dll These assemblies will need to be added to your project for Code Completion feature to work correctly.



To make it easier we have published Alternet.ExtensibilityStudio.RoslynDependencies NuGet package on nuget.org.
This package includes all assemblies required for Roslyn-based parsers to work. You can install this package to your project using Package Manager
Console command: Install-Package Alternet.ExtensibilityStudio.RoslynDependencies or through Tools->NuGet Package Manager->Manage NuGet Packages
for Solution.



We have also optimized Microsoft Roslyn-based parsing by passing incremental changes as user types in the editor to the parser, allowing underlying
code analysis engine to work more efficiently.






Script Debugger improvements


We have reworked our expression evaluation engine, which now displays results in more readable form: it separates private and static fields from the public
ones. It also displays elements of IList/IEnumeration and allows to cancel expression evaluation if it takes too long time to complete.






Please refer to the complete list of changes here: http://www.alternetsoft.com/version-history/3-0.



Read more about Extensibility Studio here:
http://www.alternetsoft.com/products/studio


AlterNET Software

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Category: Other

Like many other .NET software developers we love Visual Studio - it's fast, robust, efficient and fun to use.



With a variety of supported platforms and a rich set of standard controls (not to mention third-party controls from well-known vendors, which cover anything and everything, from simple buttons and editors to advanced controls like charts, grids and schedulers), a little bit of time and resources can let you create whatever application you can imagine.



But what about making some of the power Visual Studio provides available to the users of your application? Well, most apps out there will not need that power, but there are some, just to name a few, like Microsoft Office, Solid Works and Adobe Photoshop, which provide the Software Development Kit (SDK), so developers or power users can program custom logic for these platforms. It may be just simple macros in Microsoft Office that capture repetitive tasks in the form of a Visual Basic for Application script and replay them when needed, or full-featured Adobe Photoshop graphic filters.



Leaving aside the way these SDKs are implemented, the basic idea behind is more or less the same - there are some internal application APIs that are made available to the writer of user-defined plugins or scenarios and a set of programming tools that allows these APIs to be utilized. For some applications you might need a proper development platform, such as Visual Studio itself, but some come with their own set of tools - like the VBA for writing macros in Microsoft Office Word or Excel.



So, the real question is, what feasible options does a .NET developer if he decides that his application has to provide such functionality via some sort of scripting language (so the power users can extend that application)? Well, he will face a choice of either programming this feature himself, or shopping around and finding already existing solutions from some of the previously mentioned third-party controls and components vendors.



There are, of course, bits and pieces scattered around allowing to assemble such solutions - as an example, executing .NET scripts is actually relatively straight-forward; finding some kind of text editor enabling to write these scripts is not a problem either; however, once you go through the first few steps, different questions might rise up, like: how these scripts can be debugged; how the user can define custom user interface and hook it up to the script; how to make the code editor to recognize application-defined objects and provide valid code completion guidance as user types. Well, searching through what's available suggests that there are no simple answers to these questions.



AlterNET Extensibility Studio was developed to solve this problem - and bring all these bits and pieces together under the same umbrella. It consists of the following component libraries designed to work together:

  • Scripter provides an engine to run, C# and Visual Basic scripts with an ability to access application objects, and Script Debugger engine allowing to debug these scripts.

  • Code Editor supports all the features needed for efficient code editing, such as syntax highlighting, code completion, code folding, etc.

  • Visual Form Designer permits creating custom user interfaces, which can be hooked up to the user code.



Learn more about AlterNET Extensibility Studio and download your free evaluation version here: http://www.alternetsoft.com/products/studio

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