Visual Studio is a commercial IDE for software development by Microsoft. It is primarily used for application development for the Microsoft Windows operating systems. It is a well known and appreciated tool for many professional software developers.

Why Visual Studio?

Visual Studio Professional Version is expensive, but there are free Express Editions available. It is an industrial strength software development tool. Developers who are already familiar with it will tend to favor it above other available add-on tools, as it provides a familiar environment for them.

You can download Visual Studio Express for free from Microsoft.

AddOn Studio for World of Warcraft

A version of Visual Studio specifically tailored for World of Warcraft is available for free, including LUA syntax highlighting, some IntelliSense, a FrameXML editor, automatic TOC generation, and other features. You can download AddOn Studio from Microsoft's CodePlex site.

Visual Studio and LUA

A plugin for LUA-support for Visual Studio 2003 can be found here. It's basically a simple syntax scheme and does not take real advantage of any advanced VS-features. There's a pseudo-IntelliSense feature but it doesn't work very well. So don't expect anything special here. Notice that the plugin only works on the 2003 versions of Visual Studio .NET!

A plugin for LUA-support for Visual Studio 2005 can be found here. This plug-in supports syntax highlighting, code hiding / auto outlining, project tree support, basic MSBuild integration, and shell integration. Intellisense features are currently targetted for Dec. 2006. Note, express editions of VS 2005 are not compatible.

Visual Studio and XML

The XML editor included in .NET 2003 is okay, but really nothing special. It has basic XSD support and stuff, but it really won't stand a chance against tools like XMLspy. However, with the newer 2005 version things changed. The whole XML-Editor was rewritten in the new version and can now easily compete with most XML-Editors out there, free and commercial. Although the Lua-plugin for VS 2005 is not as good as the LuaLite plugin for 2003, which is mainly due to the first still being in an early stage of development, the XML-Editor is really worth the upgrade and may greatly increase your productivity if you're an experienced developer. The XML-Editor is also available in the Express-Editions of Visual Studio.