Visual Studio As An Extensible Platform
When running the Visual Studio IDE the devenv.exe file is started. However, the IDE is not just a simple monolithic .exe file or an executable divided into a few .dll files. It is a shell that provides a graphical environment to host functional units, called packages. What is perceived by users of Visual Studio is a cooperation of the shell and hosted packages. The core functions of the IDE are also implemented in packages including the C# or VB project types, testing features and many more. Majority of third-party extensions loaded into Visual Studio are also implemented in packages. After installing Visual Studio, about a hundred packages are installed with the shell, depending on the version of VS.
Read more about this topic: Visual Studio Extensibility
... VS Packages is the most powerful way to add functionality to Visual Studio ... The clear evidence for this is the fact that the whole Visual Studio functionality is built from packages integrated into the shell ... Registration of packages affects a broader part of the Visual Studio registry entries and is helped by a utility called RegPkg.exe ...
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