I'm not an expert at all, it's just what I know, I can be wrong
1.) The SDK documentation repeatedly mentions Visual Studio integration, I have VS2008 and would love to integrate the SDK. Is there a guide in the manual that I have missed or online somewhere. Would anyone be willing to write one? A. You need a program called "ProDG". It has not been leaked yet
2.) My current development process goes like this: Write code, make, make elf, setup png/SFO, make package, FTP to USB drive, install package, test.
That is one hell of a lot of steps each time I want to test the app, are you guys shortening it in anyway? Is it really necessary to make a package everytime, why can't you just overwrite the EBOOT.BIN? A. You can use AerialX PSGroove Payload to boot pkg / eboot.bin without installing them, it get a little faster I guess. I do exactly what you do.
3.) Is it necessary to run packages from an external usb everytime, is there not some folder on the internal hd I can write to instead so I can disconnect my usb? A. For now, yes. But I'm sure we will find ways to make everything easier.
4.) Debugging - how? A. I don't know, not on retail. Maybe using "ProDG".
5.) Right now I am using the sample framework which works fine, but it seems excessive for the basic apps I am writing atm. Does anyone have a minimalist .cpp/.h which writes text to the screen, and detects pad input? A. Take a look on the BB Game Engine, it comes with PS3 Pong v0.15.