Thursday, March 13, 2008

Localization fix for SAP ESA Explorer for Visual Studio

A couple of days ago, new great product [PDF] was released by SAP together with Microsoft. It named SAP Exterprise Services Explorer for Microsoft .NET (you can download sneak preview for free). It still in beta, however there is already major issue - it does not work in localized version of Visual Studio. Neither 2005 nor 2008. Why this happens? The reason is simple. Visual Studio always asks for localized resources for addins and there is no way to work around it.

From one hand, it's bad, that such global company as SAP does not want to localize it's products. From the other hand, there are very few developers, who working with localized versions of development environment. Anyway I started to look into the product to understand what has been done by developers. Oh, my god. They put resources into GAC. How to get them out there?

Actually, GAC is regular windows directory, that exists in %windir%\assembly\GAC\ or %windir%\assembly\GAC_MSIL\. But smart Windows replaces regular Explorer view by customize ActiveX. This does not mean, that you cannot pick files from there. To prove it map GAC folder to another disk. From command line run following command "subst z: %windir%\assembly\GAC_MSIL\". Now you have your GAC mapped to network virtual drive Z

So, if it is regular directory, you can get files from there and put it into any place you want. But why copy it if we can use hard links?

What's the hell are "hard links"? Hard links are symbolic links or symlinks, we know from Unix environment. Yes, you ca ln -fs in Windows :) To do it, you should use file system utility, named fsutil. Actually, those only pointers to real files in your file system. So, "fsutil hardlink create <copy> <original>" will do the work.

Now, when we know where to get those files and how to make symbolic links to them, we should know what versions of Visual Studio we have installed and what are languages of those products. To do this, we have to make a small trip into registry and look into HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DevDic\VS\Servicing. There we will find node 8.0 if VS2005 installed and 9.0 if VS2008 installed. Actually, we can pick all necessary information there. Let's see. This key build according following pattern: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DevDiv\[Product Family]\Servicing\[Product Version]\[Product Edition]\[Product Language]. That's exactly what we need. But what are possible values?

  • Product family
    • URT - .NET framework
    • VB - Visual Basic Express
    • VC - Visual C++ Express
    • VCS - Visual C# Express
    • VJS - Visual J# Express
    • VNS - Visual Web Developer Express
    • VS - Visual Studio (all versions)
    • VSTF - Visual Studio Team Foundation Services
  • Product version
    • 8 (or 8.0) - 2005
    • 9.0 - 2008
  • Product Edition
    • VSTD - Standard
    • PRO - Professional
    • VSTS - Team System
  • Product Language
    • Integer of Culture identifier (or other words LCID)

Now, when we know what versions and what languages are installed we should detect where Visual Studio is installed. In this case, we'll need another registry key "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\". Under this node we'll find again 8 or 9 and then value "InstallDir", that, actually, tells us where the current version of Visual Studio is installed.

Last thing to remember, that Visual Studio looks into it's root directory (that we detected in previous step) for directory with two letter ISO language code and resources there.

At this point we know all necessary information in order to work, so we have our program ready. You can, even download and use it :)


So, after running and clicking "Apply fix" button (if possible - you have SAP ESA Explorer and localized version(s) of Microsoft Visual Studio), we can start using this great product in any available version of Visual Studio. In English of cause)


Have a nice day and do not forget, that not everyone work with English version of development tools.

Download Localization fix for SAP ESA Explorer for Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 (no installation needed - just unzip and run) >>

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