I have 2 SharePoint Development licensing questions that I am currently having a hard time believing as I currently understand them.

  1. SharePoint Developers must purchase a Visual Studio Premier with an MSDN subscription license in order to be able to developer for SharePoint 2007/2010.

My thoughts: Then why are the SharePoint project types available in VS Professional? An MSDN subscription required or SharePoint development...really?

  1. SharePoint Developers must each have a SharePoint license in order to perform SharePoint development in Visual Studio. I've also been told the same is true for SPD development.

My thoughts: Requiring that every developer has a SharePoint server license in a development shop seems absurd. Is this really the case? Can I not spin up a SharePoint DEV environment and have my developers or SPD users create solutions and test them here under that license?

2 Answers 2


From a pure perspective there is not much required to develop for SharePoint.

You don't even need Visual Studio, but can develop using any tool set as long as you can compile .net assemblies, edit xml and package .cab files.

BUT to be efficient you need:

  • Visual Studio SharePoint Tools which are only in Professional and up
  • A machine (can be virtual) with server OS to run VS and SharePoint in order to be able to test/debug.
  • The appropiate SharePoint Version

It's the latter two which makes MSDN compelling, as in a lot of cases you're developing for SharePoint Server, so you need license for Windows Server 2008+ (you can use Windows Vista/7 for SP2010 development, but I wouldn't recommend it), SQL server (you can get by without it, but ...) and SharePoint Server Standard/Enterprise. And the cheapst way to get these is through MSDN.

If you don't want to buy all the licenses and machines then CloudShare might be an option.

  • 2
    +1 for CloudShare if you have any doubts over licensing (or if you don't have an MSDN subscription).
    – James Love
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 14:10

You are going to find it quite hard to develop against a single remote SharePoint instance. it all comes down to what you are trying to do.

You could do it for free and use SQL Express, Visual Studio Express 2010 and the eval version of Windows Server 2008 R2 which lasts for 180 days and SharePoint Foundation (although technically you are probably breaking the licence terms of that eval Win Server if you dev on it)

If you get local VS for the developers and have them remote deploy/debug against a single SharePoint server it will be hellish for those devs to get anything done seeing as though each deploy will pull down the app pool for the other devs. Pretty much unworkable.

There are eval virtual machines available with everything installed, http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=27417 However you probably aren't supposed to dev on them and they have a lot of extra stuff installed you don't want or need.

MSDN is the way forward really...

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