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Can I get away with building and testing basic web parts just by installing Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on a VPC with Visual Studio Express Editions?

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migrated from May 4 '11 at 2:23

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

This has been answered on Stack Overflow previously. To summarise:

  1. Yes, you can install WSS 3.0 on a VPC.
  2. Debugging will be difficult as VS Express doesn't allow attaching to an already running process, i.e. w3wp.exe (ASP.NET worker process which SharePoint runs within).
  3. VS Express doesn't allow integration with third party tools, so the ease of deployment that WSPBuilder and (to a lesser extent) VSEWSS bring won't be possible.

It is possible but you would need to be a glutton for punishment to want to do this.

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Caveat: I've upvoted the answers from Alex & user2974 as they're more helpful in actually accomplishing what you've asked, where my answer is not and follows the annoying form that tries to guide you in another direction.

If you're doing this for work, you will quickly spend more money in the additional effort required to avoid buying software, than you would in buying the correct software licenses required to accomplish your goal. Granted your salary is sunk cost, but its going to be a pretty painful experience for you. This sort of business case shouldn't be too difficult to prove out. Still there are always reasons why this sort of thing is difficult (i.e. you're a contractor sitting outside of IT and the IT department don't want you coding).

If you want to learn SharePoint coding on your own, then user 2974's answer is what I would do, better yet, download the SP2010 Information Worker VM from Microsoft.

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Not really, although there are "workarounds" of sorts (not recommended):

My advice would be to download a trial version of VS 2008 and then set up VSE WSS 3.0:

And yes, you can work with WSS on your VM.

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Yes, but you dont need to install the SharePoint server unless you need a platform to test your custom web parts.

The debugging "discussion" depends on what you're going to do, if you are to work with the internal SharePoint classes and methods (SPList etc) you might have a hard time with the above setup, to do that you really benefit from using the latest SharePoint (2010 as of today) and VS 2010 Pro. Nevertheless it IS possible anyway, you just need to be able to think abstract.

If you're going to use web parts to display let's say external data or whatever small tools you might want to develop I'd recommend attaching a Console Application Project to your Web Part Project for debugging. This method is effective whenever developing SharePoint Web Parts, especially if your are coming from another development culture than the SharePoint one.

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