Microsoft Visual Studio is a full featured IDE for software development. It is used for application development for a wide variety of environments, including the Microsoft Windows operating systems, game systems like Unity, Xamarin cross-platform phone development and more. It is a well known and widely used tool for professional software developers and enthusiasts. See also: Setting up Visual Studio for WoW XML and AddOn Studio for World of Warcraft
Why Visual Studio?
Visual Studio now offers free a Community Edition. Visual Studio 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.
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, IntelliSense, a FrameXML editor, automatic WoW TOC generation, and other features. AddOn Studio for World of Warcraft does not require Visual Studio be installed. Multiple editions exist:
Visual Studio Community Edition
Like many other major IDE style editors, Visual Studio from Microsoft now has a free Community Edition. The 2015 and older versions of Visual Studio have support for XML, but no support for Lua out-of-the-box, though Lua support can easily be added through extensions.
- Visual Studio Community Edition from Microsoft.
Visual Studio 2017 and 2019 with Lua
As of the 2017 version of Visual Studio, including the Community Edition, the base editor now supports limited Lua syntax highlighting, and very limited code completion and formatting out of the box.
Visual Studio and Lua Extensions
LuaLite is plugin for Lua support for Visual Studio 2003. 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. Note: that the plugin only works on the 2003 versions of Visual Studio .NET.
LuaLangPack is plugin for [[Lua] support for Visual Studio 2005. 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.
- LuaLite plugin for Lua support for Visual Studio 2003
- LuaLangPack VS 2005 Lua Language Integration Pack
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 2005 and newer versions 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 available in the Express or Newer Editions of Visual Studio.