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What tools do you consider essential in your SharePoint development toolkit?

One answer per tool please so the community can vote!

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Eric Alexander Feb 13 '15 at 17:03

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

62 Answers 62

SharePoint Manager is a SharePoint object model explorer. It enables you to browse every site on the local farm and view every property. It also enables you to change the properties (at your own risk). This is a very powerfull tool for developers that like to know what the SharePoint holds of secrets.

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SPDisposeCheck - to check for any dispose mistakes that could result in a memory leak.

Good to have hooked up to a build target as a post-build step so that the build fails if any problems are found.

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I would now recommend SPCop instead. It already includes SPDisposeCheck. This tool is free to use and contains a lot of rules that check your code for common mistakes – Denis Molodtsov Jan 28 '14 at 20:27

U2U CAML Query Builder - who in the SharePoint world can live without this one! It helps you avoid commoin CAML mistakes.

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WSPBuilder - for an easier, faster and more troublefree way to create new SharePoint solutions/features.

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WSPBuilder is essential for building SP 2007 apps, but I very dislike the 2010 version, compared to Visual Studio native SharePoint projects. Also good to know, CKSDev provides a project template that import WSP Builder projects (very useful for migrating projects) – Steve B Dec 11 '12 at 9:09
    
Yep, CKSDev is the way to go now. I think this thread is already too old. It might give false impression to the novice SharePoint developers. Many tools mentioned here are not essential anymore because some better replacements appeared. – Denis Molodtsov Jan 28 '14 at 20:30

Can't do any serious development/debugging without Fiddler

It's a great tool for examining all HTTP(s) traffic of your apps.

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Firebug! Useful in so many ways:

  • Editing HTML and CSS in-browser and on the fly
  • Ability to see which CSS rules are active and work with the box model
  • JavaScript console and debugging support (excellent for jQuery)
  • Net tab for seeing server requests and download performance
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I've found .NET Reflector (now from RedGate) to be an indispensable tool when developing, and with SharePoint in particular. In some cases it has saved me from spinning wheels when it is clearly a "bug" or "feature" in the SP codebase, but it most cases it has just been invaluable from a learning perspective (oh, that's how that works!)

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1  
The Reflector is actually my SP documentation! – Wictor Wilen MCA MCM MVP Oct 8 '09 at 17:58
2  
If buting Reflector is an issue, ILSpy is a free alternative. Not as complete as reflector, but efficient to explore some obscure sharePoint components – Steve B Dec 11 '12 at 9:11
    
For completeness there's also DotPeek by JetBrains (of Resharper) and JustDecompiler by Telerik – Nick Devereaux Nov 11 '14 at 4:38

Maybe not SharePoint specific, but I don't write code without ReSharper. Countless ways it improves productivity.

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I use IE8's Developer Tools whenever I work with JavaScript, CSS or HTML in SharePoint.

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the DOM inspector is no where near as accurate as Firebug so I tend to avoid it as it's misleading. – Anonymous Oct 12 '09 at 5:18

PowerShell! I use PowerShell more and more for small POC's where I would normally use console apps. Also for automation PowerShell is a great tool!

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@glapointe's STSADM custom extensions. The tools rock, and also looking at his code and seeing how he writes the functions helps you understand the API too!

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It asked for only one product per answer but I will group a couple as they work together.

NUnit - for your unit testing. I also use MSTest but find NUnit has less clutter (VS2010 removes this for MSTest)

TestDriven.Net - great tool for running the tests and include the open source version of NCover for your coverage needs.

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Another one that's not really a tool but nevertheless very handy; in my quick launch bar I always add a Shortcut and a Toolbar to the 12 hive:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\Web Server Extensions\12

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TypeMock http://typemock.com

it's the only way to write unit tests for sharepoint. Somthing we all should be doing.

http://www.qualitysharepoint.com/2009/03/options-for-unit-testing-sharepoint.html

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Development

Main

Visual Studio extensions

  • CKSDev
  • WSPBuilder, for Sharepoint 2007 (not reliable and quite useless with SharePoint 2010)

SDK

Companion tools

Administration

TODO

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Hey Steve, I've merged the questions, unlocked this question, and edited so it isn't version specific. I think you should be good to go! :) – Kit Menke Jul 9 '12 at 14:58

I'm suprised no one has brought up STSDev from codeplex. I like the way it sets up the project and set ups all the files and build tasks. Worth a look.

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SPTraceView is awesome for seeing errors that occur on SharePoint server, especially if it's your dev box as they happen via the System Tray! Also when you double click on tray it shows the exceptions...rather than you opening whole ugly ULS log ;-)

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Sure fiddler is good, but Visual RoundTrip Analyzer (VRTA) gives you a nice graphical illustration and can also help you with advice in solving the problems. It has issues regarding virtual environments though, but a great tool never the less (thanx Spence for introducing it to me:-) download VRTA

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VRTA is awesome, great for finding and analyzing your bottlenecks – Wictor Wilen MCA MCM MVP Oct 12 '09 at 10:08

The content deployment wizard (http://spdeploymentwizard.codeplex.com/ ): The SharePoint Content Deployment Wizard is a tool for SharePoint 2007 which provides the means to deploy the following content:

  • site collections
  • webs
  • lists
  • folders
  • list items (including files)
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Slight bias here. But I can't build SharePoint Lists, Content Types, Site Columns and Module files without SPSource written by myself (@jthake) and @richfinn!

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DebugView from Sysinternals/now Technet combined with System.Diagnostics.Debug.WriteLine, System.Diagnostics.Debug.Assert etc is very good especially in events or workflows where you cannot do trace.

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SharePoint Skinner for creating CSS styles and themes for your site visually

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Microsoft Live Mesh is a great tool to handle all your other tools. I've set up a folder that I have all my tools in and then use Live Mesh to have these tools synchronized into my VM's and other machines. As soon as I add or update a tool, they are all "copied" to my other machines.

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I recommend using VSeWSS 1.3 March 2009 CTP and hopefully RTW soon.

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The question asks for one answer per tool so we can vote and see which ones are popular. Please add any tools that don't already exist as separate answers and when you have enough rep vote for the ones you value! – Alex Angas Oct 8 '09 at 19:44
    
My bad... I will correct it. – Anonymous Oct 8 '09 at 19:54
    
Thanks! Downvote removed. BTW think I read somewhere that there won't be an RTM of VSeWSS 1.3. Pretty sure the SP dev team are entirely focussed on the SP2010/VS2010 integration. – Alex Angas Oct 8 '09 at 20:58
    
Thats good to know... I possed this question on the SharePoint forums and Paul Andrew commented that it was not going to be available until October 2009. You might just be right. Below is a link to the post. social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/sharepointdevelopment/… – Anonymous Oct 8 '09 at 23:50
    
I couldn't even do a down vote and wanted to :-) – Anonymous Oct 12 '09 at 5:17

What? Noone said SQL Server Profiler yet? How the heck do you guys find out what goes on behind the scenes without it? :-)

Especially good when you are after better performance. A quick profiler run will find those pesky SharePoint "specialities" in .NET like using foreach instead of for loops, or the difference in performance of doing SPContext.Current.List.ItemCount and SPContext.Current.List.Items.Count, finding deadlocks, timeouts etc

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TypeMock Isolator - essential if you are doing unit testing and need to fake out the calls to SharePoint

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Thanks Woody. We already have TypeMock here: sharepointoverflow.com/questions/81/… It's turning into a longer list than I expected... – Alex Angas Oct 9 '09 at 11:07

Ehm, noone said MetaMan yet? Doint BDC by hand is such a pain... MetaMan is the best tool out there. And now also web based. (ok Nick you can cough up a with a dev license now ;-) Nah seriously, its an expensive tool, and the licensing model sux (for devs at consultancy companies that has lots of different customers) but the tool is top notch and saved me more times than i care to remember from doing tedious XML

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I use sharegate to deploy sites from DEV to QA to Prod and Prod to QA to Dev.

http://www.share-gate.com

From their website :

sharegate is a light yet powerful tool to compare and synchronize your SharePoint environments in only three steps. It quickly detects the differences between your sites and allows you to send your chosen selections to your desired destination from anywhere in your organization. Our tool accelerates your SharePoint deployments by significantly reducing the time consuming manual process. The power of sharegate resides in its simplicity and its cost. We all agree that we need a simple tool for SharePoint synchronization.

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@Guillaume Roy: Please edit your answer to clearly disclose that this is your company's product. Spam is not tolerated on SharePoint Overflow. Thanks :-) – Alex Angas Apr 5 '10 at 23:27

protected by Alex Angas Aug 19 '11 at 7:44

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