If you were one of the lucky ones, you had some really good SharePoint training from the likes of the Ted Pattison Group on how to do some advanced SharePoint development. Maybe you learned to create Features that can be easily installed within SharePoint to provide some cool new functionality. But even with all that great training, you still find it's quite a manual process to develop, package and deploy new functionality for SharePoint.
Well Microsoft has been listening to your frustrations and has done something about it. Want a sneak peak at the tools that will be available for SharePoint in Visual Studio 2010? Yeah, we did too.
Microsoft has really been tight lipped about what's coming for the next version of SharePoint. For anyone who follows the SharePoint twitter streams, this is even more evident as the MVPs congregate for the MVP Summit and constantly have their tweets marked with NDA.
All is not lost though, as Microsoft is slowly letting us in on some of the cool new tools that will be available for SharePoint in Visual Studio 2010. We watched a quick video on Channel 9 and what we saw we know the SharePoint developer in you will like.
Helping Developers Customize SharePoint
The video is an interview with Reza Chitsaz, Senior Program Manager working on Office and SharePoint tooling. He tells us that Microsoft understands that SharePoint development can be challenging. There are a lot of manual steps and deployment of code into the SharePoint environment is difficult.
At the same time, they are encouraging developers to take SharePoint to the next level. To use it as a platform to extend and customize. And Microsoft knows they need to do something to make that easier, more approachable.
New SharePoint Tools in VS2010
The next version of SharePoint will be built on the .NET 4.0 framework. Chitsaz indicates the new Visual Studio tools will be Version 1. The tools are a mix of Designers and RAD tooling for the core scenarios but also some things that cover the breadth of SharePoint development.
The new version of Visual Studio brings us a number of new templates for SharePoint components. The screenshot below is just the start of what new templates we can look forward to.
Visual Studio 2010 - SharePoint templates
The Server Explorer connects to a SharePoint implementation and shows you all the artifacts including sites, document libraries, lists. You can click on an item and view the properties of it in the Properties tab.
Visual Studio 2010 Server Explorer for SharePoint
The Feature Designer provides a detailed look at all the components of a Feature.
Visual Studio 2010 - Feature Designer
The Package Explorer shows you all the items inside the package in a WYSIWYG view. You are able to drag and drop items around to create your package differently.
You can also add your solution to source control.
Visual Studio 2010 - Package Explorer
Building and Deploying Solutions
Currently, you have to package up your solution and deploy it manually to SharePoint. Debugging is also not something you can easily do. This will change with VS2010 -- F5 will now allow you to compile, build, debug and deploy SharePoint solutions.
Integration with Team System
Not only can you now easily add your SharePoint solutions to Source Control, you can also integrate with Team System giving you MS Build Support and nightly build functionality. This will go a long way to helping teams of developers collaborate on SharePoint features.
A Bit of a Wait Yet
Visual Studio 2010 is not here yet and unfortunately much of these new SharePoint capabilities are not available in the 2010 CTP or the Beta 1 build.
There's also a SharePoint tools blog that we hope to see soon discussing all these news tools for VS2010.