VSIX Viewer - A Visual Studio Code extension to view contents of VSIX files

Jan 5, 2020 | Utkarsh Shigihalli Utkarsh Shigihalli | 2 min read

Extensions VSCode


Do you develop Visual Studio Marketplace Extensions? Then you might already be aware of VSIX file types. VSIX file types are basically zip files with additional metadata to extend various Microsoft products like Visual Studio, VSCode and Azure DevOps. I wanted a way to quickly view contents of VSIX file without leaving the VSCOde editor. So I decided to write an extension for VSCode to quickly view the VSIX contents. This post highlights features of the extension and way I have setup CICD for automatic publishing to VSMarketplace.

BTW, If you want to know more about VSIX please refer to Anatomy of VSIX package.

VSIX Viewer

Introduction to extension

As a frequent developer of Azure DevOps, VS and VSCode extensions, I deal with VSIX files regularly. And VSCode is my preferred editor for most of my development these days and I wanted a quick way to view contents of the VSIX files while developing the extension. Viewing contents of the VSIX files right within VSCode allows me to ensure I am packaging my extension correctly and I do not include any unnecessary files while distributing the extension.

Installation

Install extension from Visual Studio Marketplace (click on the badge)

Visual Studio Marketplace Downloads

Once you install you should see a new viewer named VSIX Viewer in the Explorer.

VSIX Viewer in Explorer

Usage

Now open any folder containing a VSIX file and you should see “Show in VSIX Viewer” menu item in the context menu.

Context Menu

Click on it and you should see VSIX files contents in the VSIX Viewer.

Contribute

The code is open source and if you want to add any missing feature or fix a bug, don’t hesitate to raise a PR.


About author
Utkarsh Shigihalli
Utkarsh Shigihalli
Utkarsh is passionate about software development and has experience in the areas of Azure, Azure DevOps, C# and TypeScript. Over the years he has worked as an architect, independent consultant and manager in many countries including India, United States, Netherlands and United Kingdom. He is a Microsoft MVP and has developed numerous extensions for Visual Studio and Azure DevOps.
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