Saturday, March 01, 2008

Twelve Days of Code - Wrap up

Over the Christmas break, I started a series of posts about Visual Studio templates. I did some additional work, but never posted that information. I've got some new ideas for some code that I want to experiment and blog about and I may be afforded some additional time at work to pursue related issues, so hopefully I'll find the time to post about those.

Anyway, to clear out the cob-webs, here's the last segment in that series...

My experiment with the Multi-Item Template was to create two projects, create references between them, reference third-party assemblies and create a default class implementation. The biggest challenge and limitation to overcome is that the user supplied settings in the Multi-Item templates are not shared with each of the Project-Templates, resulting in the Project-Templates reverting to their default values. Very frustrating indeed. (Visual Studio 2008 apparently fixes this)

The best way to really manipulate the projects in a solution is to obtain a reference to the Project through the COM Interop libraries for Visual Studio. Once you have a reference to the project, you can fix the project name, add references, etc.

To overcome the limitations of the Multi-Item template, I used WizardExtensions in both the Multi-Item template and the Project-Templates, then used a singleton to carry settings between the projects.

This approached works, but seems pretty complicated, especially dealing with the COM Interop for Visual Studio. I still would need to strong-name the assemblies and write an installer that installs the templates and the assemblies.

It'll interesting to contrast this to the Guidance Automation Toolkit.