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Solution package development tool comparisons

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Solution package development tool comparisons

Community SharePoint Development Tool future

I have created a separate page, called The Ultimate SharePoint Development Tool, to try and get everyone to collaborate on what they would like to see out of a community tool based on pros and cons of the tools listed below.

Microsoft Tools

VSeWSS 1.2

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7bf65b28-06e2-4e87-9bad-086e32185e68&displaylang=en

Pros Cons
Solution Generator reverse engineers Lists to List Templates No ability to customise Build actions, use of bat files for setup scripts (rather than utilising MSBuild) and auto refreshes everytime deploy executed (can't modify)
Adds ElementFile and ElementManifest file entries to Feature Manifest automatically Only creates Solution / Feature manifest when execute deploy but not on build
  Doesn't follow 12 hive structure
  Stores generated files in bin directory - bad for source control
  No 64 bit support
There is a Community Technical Preview available for VSeWSS v1.3 which now supports 64 bit pros and cons below

VSeWSS 1.3

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7bf65b28-06e2-4e87-9bad-086e32185e68&displaylang=en

Pros Cons
Solution Generator reverse engineers Lists to List Templates No ability to customise Build actions, use of bat files for setup scripts (rather than utilising MSBuild) and auto refreshes everytime deploy executed (can't modify)
Adds ElementFile and ElementManifest file entries to Feature Manifest automatically Only creates Solution / Feature manifest when execute deploy but not on build
Encourages good coding practice by offering a choice where to deploy dll's either to GAC or BIN. Also issues warning that eventreceivers have to go into the GAC
Doesn't follow 12 hive structure
Installs to 32 bits and 64 bits environments
Stores generated files in bin directory - bad for source control
Integrated WSP view removes need to rename WSP file extension to CAB or associate WSP extension to CAB viewer.
Installation requires Visual Studio. Cannot build WSP file without Visual Studio on the box (for build servers)
Start Browser URL from Project properties is used to specify deploy url. Allows individual developers to set their dev site collection without effecting project in source control.
Requires that the Central Admin app pool user has Administrator privileges such as to SQL and local file directory.
Controls feature activation and deactivation, reducing the manual steps for each developer
Doesn't support including workflows into WSP workaround
Can create site schemas
VSeWSS relies on Start Browser URL to deploy package in VS. It isn't captured in csproj & not version controlled
  Does not do plumbing around FeatureReceiver in feature.xml
  Tampers with feature.xml when you "Package" things, extremely reliant on "WSP View"
  Can't have your base class in a different assembly for things like Event Receivers and Features
  Doesn't like bases and interfaces in different classes e.g. won't support Unit see workaround
  Doesn't play nice with pkg folder created which includes feature.xml files etc., but not included in Project for source control dezmembrari suzuki

During testing some errors showed up after build and deploying. WSP package could not be deployed, no such URL. However the WSP package was fine and was installed. Was able to deploy through stsadm by Central Administration.

External REferences

Open Source Tools

WSP Builder

http://www.codeplex.com/wspbuilder

Built in support for auto generating the Solution manifest file, ddf file and .wsp Solution Packages.

Pros Cons
Integration to deploy these into the Development Environment SharePoint instance Automatically writes install script batch files for you, but can't extend them (e.g. add -o activate)
Visual Studio 'New Item' integration to add new elements to the 12 Hive from Project Root
Stores generated files in bin directory - bad for source control
Uses Solution Explorer Project Context Menu to handle deployment commands Can't extend WSPBuilder actions e.g. what happens when you Deploy, Upgrade, Uninstall.
Integrates with SharePoint Installer to create deploy package Uses WSPBuilder.exe to execute deployments in Visual Studio - no visibility to STSADM
Built in support for auto generating the Solution manifest file, ddf file and .wsp Solution Packages No visibility in IDE of success/failure of Deployment - states"Done!"
Template Item support for: Web Service, Custom Field Type
Referenced assemblies don't automatically get added to WSP, as reference copy local intermittently works (workaround)
Option to build Package folder for deployment (SharePoint Installer wizard, WSPBuilder.exe script and STSADM.exe scripts provided)
Either all referenced ddls are put in safe controls and into GAC OR all are put in BIN, can't decide per dll
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External References

STSDev

http://www.codeplex.com/stsdev/

Pros Cons
Wizard based approach to create templated Visual Studio base projects Projects reliant on .sln created- can't merge VS Projects into one solution
Built in support for auto generating the Solution manifest file, ddf file and .wsp Solution Packages Doesn't build you install scripts
Uses .target files to handle deployment commands in Build Targets (can extend these e.g. Install, Deploy, Upgrade, Uninstall)
Can't add new Features etc to STSDev created Visual Studio Projects once created
12 Hive structure based Hasn't been updated in a long time
Deployment folders in DeployFolder rather than bin so that you can source control releases
 
More feedback in the Output window when Deploying packages from Visual Studio as uses STSADM to Deploy etc.
 
Template Item support for: Application Pages, WebControls, SPD Custom Workflow Activity
 

SPSource

For more information follow this SPSource wiki page.

http://www.codeplex.com/spsource/

Pros Cons
Reverse engineers Content Types and Site Columns and Lists (new as of April 2009)  
Extracts master pages and page layouts from the content database
and pulls into Visual Studio for Module creation
 
Integrates with VSeWSS, WSPBuilder and STSDEV Visual Studio projects  

SPVisualDev

http://spvisualdev.codeplex.com/

Pros Cons
Real time sync files from your local visual studio project with files in the 12-hive (quicker than WSP redeploy).
You can configure either to push down files on save or push down files manually to the 12 hive.
Encourages you to modify 12 Hive directly rather than deploying via WSP
Easy to add new features and edit settings and elements from a form UI Doesn't automatically create signed dll and key
Easy to install / activate Sharepoint features from context menu  
Edit and bind resources easy  
Automatic event receiver xml generation and synchronization  
Standard set of custom project and item templates, including Web part, event receivers, Application / Master page etc  
Import Content Types directly from 'Feature wizard'  
Integrates with WSPBuilder Overlaps some functionality that WSPBuilder does
"Explore target" on 12 Hive folders in project to quickly jump there  
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Comments

Re: Solution package development tool comparisons

Very nice comparison. But again which one is the best and should be used?
Jerry

Posted 24-Feb-2009 by

Re: Solution package development tool comparisons

I also like the comparison but we need a more concrete direction of which should be used and how to go about creating a site template with a team of developers. -Dirk

Posted 12-Mar-2009 by

Re: Solution package development tool comparisons

Hi All,

I have published a comprehensive list of development tool for SharePoint on my blog.

The List of development tools that SharePoint developer required to build SharePoint Solutions such as Web Parts, Features, Solution Package etc. Complete detail can be found at: http://www.mossgurus.com/adnan/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=21
 
Thanks
Adnan Ahmed
SharePoint Consultantwww.mossgurus.com

Posted 09-May-2009 by

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