About a year ago we decided as a company that we should make a concentrated effort to learn how to do more development/configuration/customization work with SharePoint. This was back when the latest version of SharePoint was 2007. Predictably, when one sets goals like these, the world obviously has to go nuts and one has no time to actually devote to their aforementioned goal. And software waits for no woman. Thus, here I am, a year later, set to learn SharePoint 2010.

I’m actually happier about this development, since it is apparent that SharePoint 2010 is a big improvement over SharePoint 2007. I’ve started reading a few books on developing custom solutions for SharePoint 2010 and one thing became immediately apparent: you are required to have Visual Studio 2010. All sorts of wonderful new SharePoint templates are available in Visual Studio 2010. We don’t have Visual Studio 2010. Visual Studio 2010 is expensive, so we will not be immediately obtaining Visual Studio 2010. How then does one develop solutions for Visual Studio 2010? I figured that, surely, there had to be developers out there that would not let this stand. It’s a big investment to obtain both SharePoint 2010 and Visual Studio 2010. It took a great amount of searching, but finally I found a solution: WSPBuilder

WSPBuilder is a handy little extension for Visual Studio for developing SharePoint solutions.  Even better, it allows one to develop solutions for SharePoint 2010, while using Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Studio 2005.  NB: for developing for SharePoint 2010, you must download and install the WSPBuilder Extensions 2010 BETA 1.4 NOT the WSPBuilder Extensions 1.06 – x86 / x64 bit and IIS6 / IIS7 support.

The templates are great and deploying to SharePoint is very easy.  I am not a programmer (at least, not without prior kicking and screaming), and I was able to get a custom Web Part deployed and on my test page in no time.  As I mentioned, I’m only just now learning, and who knows what obstacles will thwart this latest attempt, but if I can I will try to post examples of solutions I build using WSPBuilder, since there ARE differences between using Visual Studio 2010’s templates, and the books I’ve read so far rely heavily on Visual Studio 2010’s templates.  And I know I can’t be the only one trying to develop while using Visual Studio 2008.