AddOn Studio for World of Warcraft is a WoW AddOn editor which features a Lua editor, a WYSIWYG WoW UI Frame designer, and WoW launcher. This page describes the overall history of AddOn Studio. See AddOn Studio 2010 for current supported version.
Version 1.0 Edit
The original product version 1.0 was based on Vistual Studio 2005 and was released around the 2007 time frame. This version is no longer maintained.
Version 2.0 Edit
The version 2.0 product was to be based on Vistual Studio 2008 but was never formally released. The last downloadable release was version 2.0 BETA 2, on or around February 11, 2009. This version is no longer maintained.
Version 3.0 Edit
Version 3.0, formally titled AddOn Studio 2010 for World of Warcraft, is based on Visual Studio 2010 and can be found at AddOn Studio 2010. This version has been available since late 2010, and has support added for Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. This is the currently maintained release.
For a big chunk of the gaming population, AddOns are mysterious things you download and hope will run. But for many talented people, they're an opportunity to help the community and make things easier for the rest of us.
Well, some of the tedium has been taken out of AddOn writing with the help of Microsoft. "What?" Yep, you read that right. Microsoft loves WoW, too. Using CodePlex, their open-source project site, they have helped create an AddOn Studio for WoW based on the Visual Studio package. The download contains everything you need to create AddOns, so don't worry if you aren't the owner of Visual Studio already.
So what does this mean exactly? The project team has converted the AddOn writing process from text and code to drag and drop. You get the look and feel of common programs like Visual Basic but with the command structure of WoW. By having the process be graphic, you just pick and choose what you want from the list.
Specifically, AddOn Studio will provide an interface that allows AddOn creators to build in familiar surroundings. You'll also have the ability to auto-generate items like the table of contents or lua events. Error checking for FrameXML and Lua parsing also helps to speed the AddOn process up. Likewise, they have included Ace2 templates so you can still tap into one of the most commonly used AddOn libraries and updater systems.
Long-term, this should open up AddOn creation to those that enjoy dabbling with programing, but don't have the time or skill to build them without a bit more structure. And that can only be a good thing.