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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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61 Answers 61

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

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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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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
1  
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

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

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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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HyperV! I love doing dev work on my pumped up 2008 server where i can spawn as many virtual servers as i need with performance that leaves VMWare in the dust!

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

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