As Visual Studio 2010 gets closer to launch I wanted to start checking out some of the customization possibilities of it. One area of interest was the ability to customize the start page of VS 2010. This is pretty interesting considering in previous versions this was pretty much reserved for Microsoft or took some hacking to enable it.

In VS 2010 customizing the start page is as easy as creating some XAML components and adding them to the startpage.xaml. Pretty slick .

So, armed with this info, I figured I would build a customized start page that display’s some of our RSS content from the Citrix blogs and Citrix TV site, viewable from within the StartPage.

Here is a screenshot of the final tab output, showing the Citrix Blogs and Citrix TV tabs integrated into the main start page.

Below is a full image of the Citrix Blogs RSS feed integrated in the customized Start Menu

Below is a full image of the Citrix TV RSS feed integrated in the customized Start Menu

So, this was interesting, but it was missing something, ahh TWITTER!!, so I have added the “Tweet” function into the feed listing. Note: Right now it spawns a new browser window to tweet.

Now, lets talk about installation. There are two ways to install this customized start screen.

This extension is available from within the Microsoft Extension Library, so you can download it right from within Visual Studio 2010.
Process #1:
1) Download the extension from the extension gallery using visual studio. You can initiate this by going to the Tools->Extension Manager

2) Navigate to Online Gallery->Tools->StartPages

3) Click download next to the Citrix Community Start Page.
4) After the download you will see an Extension dialog installer. Click in the “Install” button.

5) After this the extension should be installed. You will have to restart VS2010.
6) Upon restarting, you might notice that the custom start page is not appearing, not to worry there are a few more processes to enable the start page.
7) After VS has restarted, you will need to go into the Tools->Options menu.
8) Once in the options menu, has come up, navigate to the Environment->Startup item.
9) FRom there now you can choose the customized start page. Choose “Citrix Community Start Page” as you default start page. Like the following

10) After that, you all set to go. If you want to change you default start page back, set it back to StartPage.xaml.

Process #2:
NOTE: I recommend using Process #1 as if i update the extension you will automatically get updates to it. Process #2 is only provided as an alternative method.

Now for process #2 the steps are pretty much the same, except that you can get the extension installed from this download.
1) Download the VSIX file


If you want to download the Custom Start Page installer, you can do that here
Download Custom Start Page installer

2) Once the file has downloaded, double click on the VSIX file to to kick off the installation.
3) once you kick off the installation, you will see an Extension dialog installer. Click in the “Install” button.

4) After this the extension should be installed. You will have to restart VS2010.
5) Upon restarting, you might notice that the custom start page is not appearing, not to worry there are a few more processes to enable the start page.
6) After VS has restarted, you will need to go into the Tools->Options menu.
7) Once in the options menu, has come up, navigate to the Environment->Startup item.
8) From there now you can choose the customized start page. Choose “Citrix Community Start Page” as you default start page. Like the following

9) After that, you all set to go. If you want to change you default start page back, set it back to StartPage.xaml.

And that’s it, you should see the Citrix Blogs and Citrix TV rss feed on your VS startpage.

As always, let me know what you think. You can ping me on twitter at twitter.com/johnmcbride