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STSDEV = VS.Net + .WSP + Consistency

Posted by Clayton James on February 6, 2008

I have had a look at STSDEV and created a couple of sample Visual Studio/SharePoint solutions.

My first impressions are hopeful. Hopeful that this tool will continue to evolve into what SharePoint developers have been struggling with for a large amount of time, creating SharePoint Solutions inside the Visual Studio IDE. And… creating a consistent project structure when creating web parts, site defintiosn, features, application pages, etc…

SharePoint Solutions (.wsp) are a new way to deploy components to SharePoint farms. They are considered by many developers to be the main way to deploy components to SharePoint farms and have nice tight integration with source control. However, there has been a very loose coupling between these areas (Visual Studio and SharePoint Solutions) or very tight.

Loose: When SharePoint was first released we had to create the manifest.xml, .ddf and .cmd files by hand to create and deploy the .wsp.
Tight: Microsoft saw the problem and created the WSS 3.0 tools – Visual Studio 2005 Extensions. This went some way to solve the problem but gave developers no way to modify the manifest.xml, .ddf until after it was created and would deploy teh .wsp solution automatically…no control.

Ok, so this leaves us with STSDEV which has been built and developed but some of the leaders in the SharePoint industry, Ted Patterson, Andrew Connell, John Holiday and Scott Hillier. These names make me hopeful that we are finally on the right track moving forward as SharePoint developers working in Visual Studio.

There are also three screencast tutorials to watch and see how it all works.


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