Visual Studio extensions for Windows SharePoint Services

Visual Studio extensions for Windows SharePoint Services

  • Comments 51

Hello all,

My name's Alex Malek, I'm a Lead PM on the SharePoint Designer team. During my day job, I focus on the workflow experience in SharePoint and SPD. However, for the last year or so, I've been working on a little side project called the "Visual Studio extensions for Windows SharePoint Services" (VSeWSS). Simply put, VSeWSS is all about making developers more productive on SharePoint. This last week, we released our first version, which you can download here: link. As with many v1’s, this release doesn’t do everything, but it’s a first step on the road to having great dev tools for SharePoint.

The VSeWSS installer consists of two pieces: 1) an add-in to Visual Studio that adds some SharePoint-specific project templates (e.g. Web Part, Site Definition, Content Type, etc.) and 2) a little utility program, called the SharePoint Solution Generator, which enables you to take site "instances," customized in SPD and the browser, and convert them into site definitions, which you can then continue editing in VS.

In short, our goal with VSeWSS was to "make F5 work" for the most common SharePoint objects, such Web Parts. Fortunately, we got a bit farther than that - over the next few weeks, I'll blog a little about how to use VSeWSS for some of more advanced scenarios it support, e.g. creating content types with event handlers.

Thanks, alex

  • Great job! But um... why won't it install unless I have WSS3.0 on the localhost dev machine? I try to keep my dev box and my server separate.

  • Alex - thanks for sharing, and thanks for the solution. MVPs know this "make F5 work" will save a lot of questions in the msdn forums...

    There is one thing people keep asking in the forum and I was hoping one of you gueys will answer (and Maarten mentioned it) - most of the developers keep expecting it to work on development workstations, with windows xp (or vista) installed.

    I feel it is important that you clear this issue and explain the supported development methods to develop for sharepoint.

  • Nice tools, but as Maarten stated out, why do I need to have WSS installed on my Dev-Machine? Is there a trick to avoid this (copy Sharepoint-DLL's to GAC or any registry settings?)

  • Hello, I came across this blog recently. Please tell me this: do SharePoint Designer and Expression Web use the same underlying rendering engine? Also, is it true that this engine is different from IE's Trident?

  • Same as Maarten said.

    For security, server performance and license reason, it's better to seperate dev box and server.

    However, I couldn't install VSeWSS into my XP dev. box.

    Although the sample code can be compiled in VS by copying SharePoint.dll to my XP, I found lots of difficulties to just understand the code without a proper tool in VS.

    I am hoping MS to release a non-WSS-depended (XP/Vista) version of VSeWSS.

    To Eric Bartels: Go to!76596824C411964C!142.entry , follow "problem one" (A) and (B), then you can compile the code in XP, but nothing else other than code compiling and workflow designer.

  • I agree with everyone who wants an XP-friendly version. This seems like a big limitation to me. Any word from the Sharepoint team on plans for an XP release?

  • "it’s a first step on the road to having great dev tools for SharePoint"... you are correct. Unfortunately the journey is still 1000 miles.. developing for sharepoint is nowhere near great. It is at the opposite end of the spectrum.

    It is ridiculous that it is necessary to have sharepoint installed to be able to develop for it. ( not to mention 2003 )

    I am not going to copy dll's to my XP machine just to be able to use the API and build, and then copy that build to a 2003 sharepoint server just to run it. It is not feasible to develop code for a corporation when it is impossible to debug the code. It is also not feasible to jointly develop an application with several developers remotely using the same server for development.

    Where is the MSDE, the Express, the Casini...

    Sharepoint is definitely not developer friendly. I am not an MS hater. I gladly develop using .Net.

    Search anywhere on the web, you will see loads of developers with the same gripes. It is amazing to me that this has not been addressed.

  • aaaaaaaGHHH - neeed win2003 to develop for Sharepoint on my **DEV** machine :(   :(   :(   :(   :(   :(


  • Why dont you reply to all the above dear Alex? We developers still use Windows Xp....

  • It's extremely disappointing to run Win2k3 on a developer's machine just to be able to develop for MOSS and it's even more disappointing that VSeWSS developer has nothing to add here.  This is the MS way to deal with the community.  Unless you're an MVP or something similar MS will not listen, as always.  It's a shame...

  • hey guys, sorry for the slow response. Per the comments above:

    SPD and Expression: yup, these share the same "editor" technology, though it is not related to the Trident engine.

    Requiring Win2k3: I feel your pain :). It really came down to feasibility - we interact with the SharePoint Server Object Model during "F5 Deploy", as well as in the Solution Generator. Those APIs can not currently be "remotely" accessed. We hope to work with WSS to add those APIs as web services in a future release.


    Alex Malek

    PM - SharePoint Designer

  • How long untill this happens?  I have the most unfortunate task of developing WSS for my company.  I have to RDP from my dev box to a dev 2k3 server to use VS 2005.  Anyone ever NOT resize a table in VS when you didnt want to?.  Try it through RDP on a 2k3 server.  My experience so far with this has been horrible.  I truly hope a solution comes soon.  My productivity has taken a major hit.................

  • I have to develop with sharepoint for my company as well, we have 2 servers, a file server, and an 'everything else' server, doing exchange, sql, iis, dhcp, firewall etc etc I won't be allowed to install VS on it, and I don't really want to operate in a live environment as our business loses money if I make an error in my code.

    What options do I have? As far as I can tell, I could wipe my laptop of XP and install my copy of windows server 2003.... not an option for me. I could setup another computer on my desk with windows 2003 and install wss 3 on that and develop on that, then what happens when I want to make it 'live' on the other server? I'm new to this and am not sure if it is possible for me to copy across the changes?

    What about virtual PC... is this an option? Could I install MS virtual PC on my XP box, and run windows 2003 off that, install wss and vstudio on that.... how will this perform? is it going to take ages to start up, and use lots of disk space( only have 120gb hd, with only 20 or so gigs left), how easy is it to develop in that?

    Thank you for these tools, I've been reading the MSDN article on an introduction to it and I'm excited about the prospects, however it said I could develop on my XP box and then transfer stuff to the server, but when I went to make the first walkthrough ('hello world web part') I couldn't click on the sharepoint solution tab... so obviously the walkthrough is meant for running it on the server itself.


    Rod Howarth

  • Same problem here, and as far as I am concerned this is a dead technology as I don't see many people installing VS on server machines (the idea itself seems ridiculous) for development purposes.

    I hope MS comes to it senses and takes this problem seriously as I am very keen on getting to grips with Sharepoint development.

  • Hi Alex,

    A quick question here. The SSG(SharePoint Solution Generator) does not seem

    to be taking any parameters. My requirement is from a .NET Application

    can i invoke SSG by passing the that the users need not invoke

    SSG and select the options.

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