Note: Feature Builder 1.0.1 contains minor changes but is 100% compatible with Feature Builder 1.0. If you already have Feature Builder 1.0 installed, you must use the Extension Manager within Visual Studio to uninstall the 1.0 version before you can install 1.0.1. If you have any Feature Extensions which use the Feature Extension Runtime 1.0, they will continue to work after you upgrade.
Feature Builder is a Power Tool for Visual Studio 2010 which helps you easily create rich Visual Studio extensions.
These extensions may include tools (Visual Studio automation),code (your sample code or binaries you wish to share with others) and amap (a set of steps your users will want to follow to get the best experience with your extension). You can use this power tool to quickly package up sample code with documentation, custom menus, or take the time to create complete automated guidance experiences targeted toward a specific technology. You can share your extension with users by distributing a .vsix file, or posting to the Visual Studio Gallery.
You can create two different kinds of extensions using Feature Builder. A standard Feature Extension can contain tools, code, and a simple map - it will run on the Visual Studio Professional edition and above. A more advanced extension, called an Ultimate Feature Extension, can contain everything a standard feature extension can contain, as well as rich modeling and visualization tools that can take advantage of the modeling platform inside the Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate edition (required). These tools can be used to provide a logical view of your target solution, and to visualize your existing code. This is the preferred type of extension to use if you intend to provide architectural guidance or share specific refactoring or pattern knowledge.
Feature Builder requires Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Edition, and the installation of the Visual Studio SDK to author/build Feature Extensions.
The 1.0 version supports feature extensions running on Visual Studio Professional edition and higher (but still requires the Visual Studio Ultimate edition to author a feature extension).
Also, please read the release notes posted in the Visual Studio 2010 Visualization and Modeling Tools Forum for installation and migration issues if you've installed the previous version.
An introductory video (which includes a "hello world" example) is available on Channel 9: http://channel9.msdn.com/tags/FeatureBuilder .
This tool was produced by the Visual Studio product group in collaboration with patterns & practices, the Developer Platform Evangelism group, and Microsoft Consulting Services.