Microsoft Visual Studio Gets Extension Essentials Pack for Developers

The Extensibility Essential 2019 pack includes a variety of extensions Visual Studio developers can use to customize their own extensions.

Visual Studio

Microsoft Visual Studio developers can now add a package of assorted, community-built extensions all at once to their Visual Studio development environments that can make it easier to create the specific extensions they need for their workflows.

Known as the Extensibility Essentials 2019 pack, the nine extensions that are included so far can be installed together or selected for use individually to give developers additional tools that can help with their own extension work, according to a Dec. 20 post on the Visual Studio Blog by Mads Kristensen, senior program manager on the Visual Studio Extensibility team.

"Extension authors are usually interested in improving their own tooling in Visual Studio—either by installing extensions created by others or by building some themselves," wrote Kristensen. "By banding together, we can create the best and most comprehensive tooling experience for extension authoring."

To make that happen, the first collection of extensions has been published to the Visual Studio Marketplace as the Extensibility Essentials 2019 pack and made available to developers for free using a unified and simple installation experience, he wrote.

For use in such a pack, the individual extensions can and probably should be single purpose in nature, wrote Kristensen. "This prevents feature-creep where additional features are added that may or may not be useful for extension authors. If additional features are not closely related to the extension, then simply create a new extension for them. That way it is up to the individual extension author to decide if they wish to install it."

Extension authors who want to have their extensions included in the pack must be certain that their extensions follow all necessary best practices to ensure reliable tools, he added. "Once the individual extension is stable, it can be added to Extensibility Essentials."

The extension pack so far includes nine individual extensions, with more likely to be added in the future as they are created and tested.

"Ideas for new extensions can be centralized to the GitHub issue tracker," Kristensen wrote. "By collecting ideas in a central location, it provides a single location to comment on and potentially design features ahead of implementation."

The issue tracker can be used for bugs and for suggested features to help round out the tools by the community, he wrote.

"So next time you're sitting in Visual Studio working on an extension, think about what feature you'd like that would make you more productive. If you can't think of a feature, but feel there is a scenario that is particularly problematic, then open a bug on the GitHub issue tracker and let other people try to figure out how an extension could perhaps solve the issue."

Visual Studio extensions are add-ons that allow developers to customize and enhance their experiences in Visual Studio by adding new features or integrating existing tools. An extension can range in all levels of complexity, but its main purpose is to increase your productivity and cater to your workflow.

The nine tools included initially in the Extensibility Essential 2019 pack are VSIX Synchronizer


Insert Guid


Image Optimizer


Command Explorer


Registry Explorer


KnownMonikers Explorer


Clean MEF Component Cache


VSCT IntelliSense


Image Manifest Tools


Extension packs are sets of extensions that can be installed together and which make it easy to share favorite extensions with other users or bundle them together for particular uses.