Tech Off Thread

2 posts

VSTA SDK incomplete?

Back to Forum: Tech Off
  • User profile image

    After hearing about it on the latest .NET Rocks! podcast, I set out to try the new VSTA SDK, and much to my surprise everything works up to one point: generating the project templates.  I followed the instruction in the MSDN Library addition it installed, and came up with the following instructions for how (I thought) to get the most basic sample, ShapeAppCSharp, to function with VSTA:

    (All paths/command-line commands are in bold, the .reg file is in italics.  Copy them verbatim, quotes and all, and it will work fine.)

    1. Install VSTA to default location  (C:\Program Files\Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Applications SDK)
    2. Start - >Run -> msiexec /i "D:\Program Files\Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Applications SDK\2007.02\VisualStudioToolsForApplications\SetupPackage\vsta_aide.msi" VSTAINVS=1
    3. Extract: D:\Program Files\Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Applications SDK\2007.02\VisualStudioToolsForApplications\Samples\ to: C:\ShapeAppSamples
    4. Open C:\ShapeAppSamples\ShapeAppCSharp\ShapeAppCSharp.sln
    5. Add a new C# Class Library project to the solution named ShapeAppCSharpProxy
    6. Add a new set of references to the new project (All under the “.NET” tab):
      1. System.Drawing
      2. System.Windows.Forms
      3. System.AddIn
      4. Microsoft.VisualStudio.Tools.Applications.Adapter
      5. Microsoft.VisualStudio.Tools.Applications.Contract


    1. Open Project Properties for project ShapeAppCSharp
    2. Paste the following text into the “Post-build event command-line” box on the “Build Events” tab:

    set proxygen="D:\Program Files\Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Applications SDK\2007.02\VisualStudioToolsForApplications\Tools\ProxyGen\x86\ProxyGen.exe"

    set ProxyClass="$(SolutionDir)$(TargetName)Proxy\Proxy.cs"

    set objPath="$(ProjectDir)obj\$(ConfigurationName)\$(TargetFileName)"

    set proxyPath="$(SolutionDir)$(TargetName)Proxy\$(TargetName)OM.xml"


    %proxygen% /l:%objPath% /c:%ProxyClass% /o:%proxyPath% /f

    %proxygen% /l:%objPath% /c:%ProxyClass% /i:%proxyPath% /f


    1. Open Project Properties for project ShapeAppCSharpProxy
    2. Sign the assembly with a new key named “key” (remember to uncheck the “Protect my key file with a password” checkbox)
    3. Paste the following text into the “Post-build event command-line” box on the “Build Events” tab:

    "%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\SDK\v2.0\Bin\gacutil.exe" /i $(TargetPath)

    1. Right click the solution and click “Rebuild Solution”.
    2. Right-click the ShapeAppCSharpProxy project, click “Add Existing Item…” and add the newly created Proxy.cs and ShapeAppCSharpOM.xml files to the project.
    3. Right click the solution and click “Rebuild Solution” (to ensure everything is forced to rebuild anew.)
    4. Check %windir%\assembly for the ShapeAppCSharpProxy assembly.
    5. Create a .reg file with the following content:


    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00






    "ProjectTemplatesLocation"="C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft\\ShapeAppCSharp\\\\ProjectTemplates"

    "VSCSProjectTemplatesLocation"="C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft\\ShapeAppCSharp\\\\ProjectTemplates\\CSharp"

    "VSVBProjectTemplatesLocation"="C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft\\ShapeAppCSharp\\\\ProjectTemplates\\VisualBasic"


    1. Run the new .reg script
    2. Navigate to D:\Program Files\Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Applications SDK\2007.02\VisualStudioToolsForApplications\Tools\ProjectGen\x86\ and run ProjectGen.exe
    3. Select ShapeAppCSharp from the dropdown at the bottom and fill every other box with “ShapeAppCSharp” (with the exception of the icon field, which we will leave blank).  Click “Next”.
    4. On the next page, Click the “…” button and navigate to the C:\ShapeAppSamples\ShapeAppCSharp\ShapeAppCSharpProxy\bin\Debug directory and select ShapeAppCSharpProxy.dll
    5. Sigh with remorse at the message you see, as you have now followed the directions in the MSDN articles verbatim, but to no avail.


    Am I missing anything?

    The installer for ShapeAppAdvancedCSharp works fine, so for the time being I can still get a feel for how the thing works, but I'd like to step through the whole process myself to get a feel for how the migration process would be for one of my own applications.

    (if the link at the top doesn't work, the SDK is at )

  • User profile image

    Unfortunately, you cannot create a valid proxy through post build events alone.  You must edit the descriptor file output by proxygen to designate an add-in entry point.  Then run the updated descriptor file through proxygen creating the proxy.cs file.  Now when you use ProjectGen and select the proxy project, an add-in entry point will be available. 

    Here's a link to the VSTA 2.0 SDK section that explains add-in entry points:

    If you would like more information on VSTA, or have any questions, please check out our blogs and forums at we're here to help.


Comments closed

Comments have been closed since this content was published more than 30 days ago, but if you'd like to continue the conversation, please create a new thread in our Forums, or Contact Us and let us know.