Microsoft Visual Studio to boost SharePoint

Templates and an extensibility API eyed for upgrade to development environment

Developers building solutions based on Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration and business process platform will gain expanded support in the planned Visual Studio 2010 development environment, which will feature templates and an extensibility API, a Microsoft official said in a blog on Thursday.

Currently, developers can use Visual Studio 2005 or 2008 to develop for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, said S. "Soma" Somaseger, senior vice president of the Microsoft developer division, in his blog. Developers also can use Visual Studio for Windows SharePoint Services or third-party tools, he said.

"In Visual Studio 2010, we're going to expand SharePoint support in two key areas. First, Visual Studio 2010 will deliver a broad set of project templates, designers, and deployment infrastructure that will make any .Net developer instantly more productive on the SharePoint platform," Somasegar said. "Second, we are exposing an extensibility API that will continue to foster the ecosystem of third-party developers who create development tools and technologies."

Visual Studio 2010, Somasegar said, will boost developers via project and items templates. "You'll be able to use these to quickly create or update SharePoint elements, such as list definitions, list instances, site definitions, workflows, event receivers, Business Data Catalog models, and content types," he said.

A Visual Studio extensibility API will let developers build SharePoint project items, automate and extend existing SharePoint project items, enhance deployment and retraction functionality, and extend the display and actions of SharePoint nodes in Server Explorer, Somasegar said.

While Visual Studio 2008 is limited to development of supported workflow projects only for lists and document libraries, Visual Studio 2010 will enable development of list and site level workflows along with aspx association and initiation forms.

"And, as you would expect, the new Visual Studio 2010 designers can be used to create Web Parts, application pages, and user controls for a SharePoint site," Somasegar said. Developers also will be able to navigate and browse a SharePoint site directly in Visual Studio, Somasegar said.

Visual Studio 2010 could arrive late this year, based on two-year release cycles for Visual Studio.

Office SharePoint Server features capabilities for collaboration, portals, enterprise search, content management, business process and forms, and business intelligence. Windows SharePoint Services enables collaboration and development of Web-based business applications.

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