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Using the Toolkit for Visual Studio

The Toolkit for Visual Studio

The Toolkit for Visual Studio is a plugin for the Visual Studio IDE that makes it easier for developers to develop, debug, and deploy .NET applications that use Amazon Web Services. For details on how to download and install the kit, see Installation.

The following AWS Toolkit features enhance the development experience:

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 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 by 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 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.
CloudFormation makes it easy for you to deploy your .NET Framework application to AWS. CloudFormation provisions the AWS resources required by your application, which frees you to focus on developing the application’s functionality. The Toolkit for Visual Studio includes two ready-to-use CloudFormation templates.
AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)
From AWS Explorer, you can create IAM users and policies, and attach policies to users.
The 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 Elastic Beanstalk
In addition to its existing deployment support for CloudFormation, the Toolkit for Visual Studio now supports deployment of web applications and websites to Elastic Beanstalk. To deploy to either service, in Solution Explorer, right-click your project and choose Publish to AWS. You can then use the deployment wizard to choose the required service. If you have Amazon RDS instances, the deployment wizard for Elastic Beanstalk can also be used to allow connectivity between your deployed application and selected Amazon RDS instances.
Fast redeployment
For previously deployed projects, 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 CloudFormation stack) together with the environment or stack name. Choosing the command will display a dialog box that summarizes the deployment options that were last used. Choosing the Deploy button will start project redeployment, without the use the deployment wizard.
Support for Amazon RDS and Microsoft SQL Server
Amazon RDS support has been added to the AWS Explorer to allow you to manage Amazon RDS assets in 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 Elastic Beanstalk and CloudFormation. For CloudFormation stacks, the tool now also supports update stack functionality.

What’s New in Version 1.1

AWS standalone deployment tool
The Toolkit for Visual Studio includes a command-line tool you can use to deploy your application to 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 (US) support
You can designate AWS accounts as AWS GovCloud (US) users. These users are then able to use the AWS GovCloud (US) 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 you upload the object or afterward 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. The tags you add are then added as columns in AWS Explorer views. As with other columns, you can hide these columns if you choose.
Pagination of result set returned by SDB
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 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 SDB 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, go to Getting Started with AWS.