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I have a site that was built with the UI: It has a lot of custom .aspx pages with webparts and there are custom site columns, content types, and even a document library with several support files.

My goal is to create a Visual Studio solution that will produce the same site when it is deployed; keeping in mind that it should be kept as a sandboxed solution, if possible. There are no farm or web application items that need to be deployed. It is not a mandatory requirement to keep it sandboxed, but it would be nice!

I know that I can save the site as a template and import to VS, but that just makes a very large solution that has a lot of extra stuff, and seems even less clean if it is sandboxed. It also just carries the template that was saved and I wanted a cleaner solution.

I know that it is possible to create a web template feature, which is okay, but I'm not sure the best approach to take after that, or if that is the best approach. I am thinking that I may have to do this as a series of features that run in some order.

I thought it was much easier in VS 2008 with the VseWSS tools! I'm certain that it would seem easier to do it as a full site definition, and I can already feel the cringing that happens when I say that. Any thoughts are welcome!!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Indeed, Web Template sounds great. If Sandboxed, is NOT really a demand, I would go probably for multiple solutions (e.g. Fields cannot be deployed in Sandbox), and Files can only be deployed via Modules. Otherwise, you could opt for a simple Custom Web Template+ provisioning handler to attach content Types upon creation, create custom lists, etc.

Are you targeting publishing sites too, or only Collaboration?

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I have decided that it is too much effort to do this now. I really miss the ease of VSEWSS because it just made sense to me! Your answer is a valid one for 2010 and it is just Collaboration. –  spevilgenius Oct 20 '11 at 12:44
    
If i may just add, actually using CKS:Dev extensions along with PowerTools for SharePoint 2010 - both available in Visual Studio Gallery, you would get so much more than VSeWSS had to offer. I've been working with these tools for some time now, and I must say, that when I return ocasionally to MOSS 2007 + VS2008 (SPVisual, WSSBuilder or VSeWSS), still i miss the power of VS2010! –  C. Marius - MVP Oct 20 '11 at 15:14
    
Maybe I should clarify! In VSEWSS, I could create a complete site definition with a custom master page and custom files and it was very easy and simple. I could even have files in a doc library! I could create a content type with custom forms all in the same solution. I have not seen this in VS 2010 or at least a tutorial on how to do it! –  spevilgenius Oct 20 '11 at 15:36
    
You cand do the same with VS2010 already either by importing it from existing (see here msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg512104.aspx) or start with a new one from predefined blogs.msdn.com/b/vesku/archive/2010/10/14/… –  C. Marius - MVP Apr 23 '12 at 12:10

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