Windows – the Visual Studio shell (standalone shell) good for


Is it some sort of pre-built GUI scaffolding?
Why would I Want it instead of a WinForms UI, which is quick to set up?
What does it give me that I would have to spend time writing?
Do I get floating windows and docking, like in Visual Studio 2008?
Is there a money-cost to using it?
What does the deployment look like – is my app a standalone EXE, or is it shipped as some sort of one-off package or archive that runs within the shell?
Is Eclipse RCP a good comparable, and if so, how do they compare?

Best Solution

I would like to mention that SQL Server Management Studio 2012 requires both of these entries in Add/Remove programs:

  1. Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Shell (Isolated) - ENU
  2. Visual Studio 2010 Prerequisites - English

I know this because I uninstalled them, broke SSMS, and had to repair from the installation media, upon which those 2 items reappeared.