I’m not aware of a way to tell Fiji to use a custom editor. (There might
be one – I just don’t know.)
However, I think of plugins as completed pieces of code, rather than
individual lines of code that get run (interpreted) one by one as you
type them in. So it makes perfect sense (to me) to write plugins in
an editor that is not attached to Fiji.
Specifically, Visual Studio (like other IDEs) has a notion of a build
process (e.g., compile, link, install). In the case of python, there’s
no compilation, so all you need is to “install” your plugin by copying
it to Fiji’s plugins directory.
So your build process could potentially be as simple as a single
Start Visual Studio and edit and “build” your plugin. Start (or
restart) Fiji so it picks up the new version of your plugin, and run
your plugin from the Plugins menu, Plugins > my plugin.
The only “linkage” between Fiji and your editor is that your “build”
command copies your plugin to Fiji’s plugins directory, but that’s
all you need. It’s annoying to have to restart Fiji when you add or
modify a plugin, but I’m not aware of any way to avoid this step.
(You could try to get fancy and add a “kill Fiji / start Fiji” step to
your build process, but I never felt this was worth the bother.)
welcome on the path from IJ macro to IJ plugins Before you start walking a path that nobody explored yet (Visual Studio plays no big role in ImageJ development and python is also not the most common way for plugin development), may I point you to a little video a student at MPI CBG did to introduce people to how plugins are made:
This video reflects the most common way of how to develop plugins for ImageJ and Fiji these days. But any working alternate path is welcome! So in case you continue with Visual Studio, please let us know how it’s going!