BSopt Designer using Isolated Shell and Wizards

Posted by Dieter Mayrhofer on April 6, 2010 in BSopt Designer

In order to create our BSopt Designer we decided to build upon the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Isolated Shell and integrated wizards. The Isolated Shell represents the core of the Visual Studio IDE and can be extended with various packages to add additional functionality and features. It can then be distributed as a stand-alone application. The user only has to install the application as well as the Visual Studio 2008 Shell (isolated mode) with Service Pack 1 Redistributable Package. The 132 MB big Redistributable Package can be downloaded for free from the Microsoft homepage and includes the core functionality of the IDE.

The BSopt Designer itself can be installed with a simple Windows Installer and includes all the additional features for the BSopt approach. These features include various model Languages (Domain Specific Languages - DSL) and several wizards helping the user to create his models.

The following figure shows the BSopt Designer:

A big advantage of the Isolated Shell approach is, that we do not have to implement basic features like adding new files or copy/paste functionality and that we do not have to install each DSL separately. They are all included in the installation package.

In order to guide the user through the modeling process we provide several wizards to create models and deployment artifacts. These Wizards can be called by right-clicking on an appropriate Item in the file list. Following you can see the Wizard for generating Entities and there states based on the e3-value models:

These wizards help the user to generate models out of the related parent models and serve as a basis for refining them. As for the development of the Wizards we used a powerful wizard framework for .Net 2.0 called WizardControl.

A great tutorial showing how to extend an Isolated Shell with DSLs and custom commands can be found at Christian Baekdorf’s Blog.

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