Charles

Chris Gray: Windows Home Server Extensibility Model - Building Add-Ins

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We recently announced the availability of Windows Home Server. I caught up with Lead Developer Chris Gray to get the scoop on Home Server's extensibility model (fully .NET managed APIs, by the way) and talk about some of the innovative add-ins customers have created. Chris demos a few simple add-ins to show how easy it is to extend the Windows Home Server admin console using Visual Studio.

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    The Discussion

    • dahat
      Excellent video, although I'm a bit confused (and excited)...

      You said that there was going to be a client side SDK... only in your example you were using WHSInfoClass from Microsoft.HomeServer.SDK.Interop.v1.dll to add and remove notifications while completely on the server... to confirm... before to long you'll be shipping a similar ability that will work on the client side?

      Also... get to the blogging Chris! I feel lonely as I seem to be the only developer blogging about development on WHS.
    • ckindel
      dahat wrote:
      Excellent video, although I'm a bit confused (and excited)...

      You said that there was going to be a client side SDK... only in your example you were using WHSInfoClass from Microsoft.HomeServer.SDK.Interop.v1.dll to add and remove notifications while completely on the server... to confirm... before to long you'll be shipping a similar ability that will work on the client side?

      Also... get to the blogging Chris! I feel lonely as I seem to be the only developer blogging about development on WHS.


      Chris sorta "mis-spoke" and "let the cat out of the bag" when he talked about the client-side SDK stuff.

      We are working on it.

      We have not announced when it will be released in pre-release form.

      We have not announced when it will be released in the product.

      So all you can do for now is sit tight and be patient for a bit...  Oh, and feel free to post ideas of what you would like to see in our SDK (client side and otherwise) in the Home Server Forums on www.serverplayground.com.

      Thanks for your support!

      -cek
    • cooliou
      This is nice!

      Love to see more of these "How TO" talks for Developers.
    • primortal
      Can someone remind Chris to post the vb.net files to the sandbox, please Big Smile
    • dahat
      ckindel wrote:
      So all you can do for now is sit tight and be patient for a bit...


      That's what you think Smiley

      When left to my own devices I tend to do anything bit sit tight and instead make new to make due... hence this latest post of mine about adding better intellisense support to the WHS development experience.
    • muad
      Chris, when are you going to upload the sample templates from the video? Checked the sandbox and nothing there! Smiley
    • dahat
      primortal wrote:
      Can someone remind Chris to post the vb.net files to the sandbox, please


      While you wait for him... feel free to take a look at this Visual Basic add-in template I've created as part of my Windows Home Server Developer Tips blog series.

      In order to use the template, simply copy it to one of the following directories to make it work in Visual Studio 2005 (or Express):

      Vista:

      %UserProfile%\Documents\Visual Studio 2005\Templates\ProjectTemplates\Visual Basic\

      XP:

      %UserProfile%\My Documents\Visual Studio 2005\Templates\ProjectTemplates\Visual Basic\

      Once there, simply launch Visual Studio and bring up the New Project dialog, select Visual Basic and you should see the Home Server Add-In template listed under My Templates (with my wonderful icon), type in a name you want and hit OK and you are on your way.
       
      Two words of warning though:
       
      First up, due to a Visual Studio bug (which they claim is fixed in a post beta 2 version of 2008), you will need to change the assembly name of your project before you can deploy it (to C:\Program Files\Windows Home Server\ on your WHS).

      By default Visual Studio gives your assembly the same name as the project... instead you'll need to change it's name to:

      HomeServerConsoleTab.<Safe Add-in Name>

      Where <Safe Add-in Name> is the same name as the last namespace listed in your root namespace.

      The other warning is that you will need to copy HomeServerExt.dll from your Home Server to your development machine and reference it in order to make the add-in you create with this template build.

      I'll be writing more up on this on Monday along with some pictures.
    • chrisgray

      here is the code Smiley  I put it into the Channel 9 Sandbox

      http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=354555

      have fun and please tell me if you have problems or suggestions Smiley


      for what it's worth there are two samples in this .zip - one C# sample of our notification infrastructure (great for sending errors messages from your code into the Home Server Admin console and client computer task tray).

      the other is a VB.NET sample for creating a tab into the Home Server admin console - dont forget that if you create your own tab you can access it from the internet using the Home Servers Remote Access feature.  we've found this REALLY cool for home automation

    • ckindel
      dahat wrote:
      
      ckindel wrote:
      So all you can do for now is sit tight and be patient for a bit...


      That's what you think

      When left to my own devices I tend to do anything bit sit tight and instead make new to make due... hence this latest post of mine about adding better intellisense support to the WHS development experience.


      You are sooo gullible.
    • dahat
      ckindel wrote:
      You are sooo gullible.


      I prefer the terms 'driven', 'easily bribed', 'hears only what he wants to hear'.
    • Ion Todirel
      cool stuff
    • Yankee
      Very interesting!

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