I just got back from a really cool Tech Ed session: OFF205 Office Developer 101: How to get started building Office 2007 solutions. Although the name doesn’t give it away, it also covered some SharePoint stuff. The first part of the session discussed some basic Office client development topics (Hello World ribbon buttons and custom Task Panes) but the interesting stuff was in the second part: Alexander Malek talked about the Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for Windows SharePoint Services v3. It was released earlier today, see Alexanders post, and Joris’ (aka Jopx) post (he was sitting next to me in this session and told me it works for B2TR). (download link).

What was so cool about VS 2005 Extensions for WSS v3? Just a couple of things that made me very happy:

  • There is a web part project template for Visual Studio 2005 that allows you to deploy and debug by pressing F5 (or the play button).
  • There is a empty SharePoint project template which allows you to insert web parts, custom fields, list definitions, content types etc (and also allows you to deploy from within Visual Studio 2005).
  • There is the SharePoint Solution Generator tool, which is my favorite! This tool allows you to generate Site Definitions for existing, customized SharePoint sites. So the scenario could go like this: create a site in SharePoint (through the web UI), add some stuff (lists, content types, web parts, …) and customize further in SharePoint Designer (even CSS). When you are happy with your site and you would like to deploy it in a more professional way than create a Site Template (STP). You can now fire up the SharePoint Solution Generator that allows you to select your site and it generates a complete Visual Studio project for you, that includes your custom Site Definition! It is really a Visual Studio project that uses the Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for WSS v3 so you can add custom fields, lists, web parts etc. This is very, very cool!

I hope I can show the web part template in my session later on this week (DEV353 Building Web Parts the Smart Way ,Thu Nov 9 17:30 – 18:45) because it will be quite important in the web part world.

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