AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio
User Guide (Version v1.30)
Did this page help you?  Yes | No |  Tell us about it...
Next »
View the PDF for this guide.Go to the AWS Discussion Forum for this product.

Using the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio

The AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio

The AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio is a plug-in for the Visual Studio 2010, 2012, and 2013 IDE that makes it easier for developers to develop, debug, and deploy .NET applications that use Amazon Web Services. Some of the features of the AWS Toolkit that enhance the development experience are:

AWS Explorer

AWS Explorer enables you to interact with many of the AWS services from inside the Visual Studio IDE. Supported data services include Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), and Amazon CloudFront. AWS Explorer also provides access to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) management, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) user and policy management, and deployment to AWS CloudFormation.

AWS Explorer supports multiple AWS accounts, including IAM user accounts, and enables you to easily change the displayed view from one account to another.

Amazon EC2

From AWS Explorer, you can view available Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), create Amazon EC2 instances from those AMIs, and then connect to those instances using Windows Remote Desktop. AWS Explorer also enables supporting functionality such as the capability to create and manage key pairs and security groups.

Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB is a fast, highly scalable, highly available, cost-effective, nonrelational database service. The AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio provides functionality for working with Amazon DynamoDB in a development context. With the Toolkit, you can create and edit attributes in Amazon DynamoDB tables and run Scan operations on tables.

AWS CloudFormation

AWS CloudFormation makes it easy for you to deploy your .NET Framework application to AWS. AWS CloudFormation provisions the AWS resources needed by your application, which frees you to focus on developing the application's functionality. The AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio includes two ready-to-use AWS CloudFormation templates.

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)

From AWS Explorer, you can create new IAM users and policies, and attach policies to users.


The AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio installs the latest version of the AWS SDK for .NET. From Visual Studio, you can easily modify, build, and run any of the samples included in the SDK.


Toolkit for Visual Studio for Visual Studio 2008 is still available, but not supported. For more information, see Installation.

What's New in Version 1.3

Added support for deployment to AWS Elastic Beanstalk

The Toolkit for Visual Studio now supports deployment of web applications and web sites to AWS Elastic Beanstalk in addition to the existing deployment support for AWS CloudFormation. To deploy to either service, right-click your project in Solution Explorer and select 'Publish to AWS'; you can then select the required service in the deployment wizard. If you have Amazon RDS instances, the deployment wizard for AWS Elastic Beanstalk can also be used to allow connectivity between your deployed application and selected Amazon RDS instances.

Fast Redeployment

For projects that have been deployed previously, a new 'Republish to...' command is available in the context menu for a project in Solution Explorer. The command name changes to show where the project was last deployed (AWS Elastic Beanstalk environment or AWS CloudFormation stack) together with the environment or stack name. Selecting the command displays a dialog that summarizes the deployment options that were last used. Clicking the Deploy button then starts project redeployment, without needing to use the full deployment wizard.

Support for Amazon RDS and Microsoft SQL Server

Amazon RDS support has been added to the AWS Explorer allowing you to manage Amazon RDS assets from within Visual Studio. Amazon RDS instances that use Microsoft SQL Server can also be added to Visual Studio's Server Explorer.

AWS Standalone Deployment Tool Additions

The standalone AWS deployment tool has been updated to support deployments to AWS Elastic Beanstalk and AWS CloudFormation. For AWS CloudFormation stacks, the tool now also supports 'update stack' functionality.

What's New in Version 1.1

The AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio adds the following new features.

AWS Standalone Deployment Tool

The AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio includes the AWS Standalone Deployment Tool. The deployment tool is a command line tool that enables you to deploy your application to AWS CloudFormation from outside of the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment. With the deployment tool, you can make deployment an automatic part of your build process or include deployment in other scripting scenarios.

Redeployment to CloudFormation

Both the deployment wizard and the deployment tool can redeploy a new instance of your application over an already-running instance.

AWS GovCloud Support

You can designate AWS accounts as AWS GovCloud users. These users are then able to use the AWS GovCloud region.

Server-Side Encryption

You can specify whether an Amazon S3 object should use server-side encryption. You can specify this feature at the time that you upload the object or afterwards in the object's properties dialog box.

Customize Columns in AMI, Instance, and Volume Views

In AWS Explorer, you can customize which columns are displayed when you are viewing Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), Amazon EC2 instances, and EBS volumes.

Tagging of AMIs, Instances, and Volumes

From AWS Explorer, you can add tags and tag values to AMIs, Amazon EC2 instances, and EBS volumes. Tags that you add are automatically added as columns in AWS Explorer views, and as with other columns, you can hide these columns if you choose.

Pagination of result set returned by Amazon SimpleDB.

When you execute a query in Amazon SimpleDB, the Toolkit for Visual Studio displays only a single "page" of results—either the first 100 results or the number of results specified by the LIMIT parameter, if it is included in the query. The Toolkit for Visual Studio now enables you to fetch either an additional page of results or an additional ten pages of results.

Time Delayed Message Delivery in Amazon SQS

When you send an Amazon SQS message from the Toolkit for Visual Studio, you can now specify a time delay before the message appears in the Amazon SQS queue.

Export Amazon SimpleDB Results to CSV

You can export the results of your Amazon SimpleDB queries to a CSV file.

About Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a collection of digital infrastructure services that developers can leverage when developing their applications. The services include computing, storage, database, and application synchronization (messaging and queuing). AWS uses a pay-as-you-go service model. You are charged only for the services that you—or your applications—use. Also, to make AWS more approachable as a platform for prototyping and experimentation, AWS offers a free usage tier. On this tier, services are free below a certain level of usage. For more information about AWS costs and the Free Tier, go to AWS Free Usage Tiers. To obtain an AWS account, go to the AWS home page and click the Sign Up Now button.