Microsoft has today released the Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (VSeWSS).
"Tools for developing custom SharePoint applications: Visual Studio project templates for Web Parts, site definitions, and list definitions; and a stand-alone utility program, the SharePoint Solution Generator."
Let's take a quick walkthrough of this new toolset for SharePoint developers and see what Santa has brought us!
SharePoint Solution Generator
The first VSeWSS tool we'll take a look at is SharePoint Solution Generator (SPSolGen). SPSolGen is a stand-alone program, so after installation you'll find a link to SPSolGen has been placed in your Start Menu under All Programs.
SPSolGen can take an existing Site Definition or List Definition from WSS and automatically reverse engineer it into a Visual Studio 2005 development project. The value proposition of SPSolGen is that a designer can create a WSS Site from the browser or with SharePoint Designer and then hand it off to a developer for deeper customizations.
By default, SPSolGen will create a subfolder in your My Documents folder and place its output there.
The SPSolGen output project in Visual Studio 2005 Solution Explorer:
New Project Item Templates
If you right-click your new project in Visual Studio and select Add->New Item, you'll be greeted by five new project items:
Item Templates include:
Selecting a new List Definition launches a dialog which allows you to specify a base list type. You can optionally create an instance of the list and include an event receiver class:
The Content Type template lets you select a base type to derive from:
New Project Templates
There are also a few new project templates.
The Team Site Definition project includes an Onet.xml and provisioning receivers:
Over all this is a useful suite of tools from Microsoft, and will provide developers with a good starting point for their SharePoint projects. The reverse-engineering capabilities of SPSolGen are pretty cool. I'm looking forward to using these new templates.