My Basic SharePoint Developement VM

I get a lot of questions about my VM configuration and I think I might as well post it here.

First off, although I appreciate that Virtual PC and Server are free, I use VMWare Workstation. You can evaluate or buy it here: If I had to sum up why VMWare works better for me than the Microsoft offerings in one word, I’d say, ‘snapshots’.

When developing in SharePoint, it is all too easy to inadvertently mess up the server. One thing I do all the time when I am in a hurry is delete my Shared Services Provider instead of my intended Web application (I swear I’ve done it 1000 times). Snapshots make restoring my development environment to a known good configuration fast and easy.

So, what is installed on my VM?

First off, I run Windows 2003 Standard + MOSS whatever version. This depends on the project and ranges from WSS 3.0 SP1 to MOSS Enterprise SP1.

Beyond that I recommend:

  • Visual Studio Professional. I still run 2005 SP1, but that’s only because I haven’t got round to installing 2008.
  • WSS 3.0 SDK. It’s available here.
  • MOSS SDK (if the project is MOSS). It’s available here.
  • Of course I always install my own eLumenotion SharePoint Skinner available here.
  • WSPBuilder is a must. You can get it here. If you are creating DDF files and manifest.xml files by hand, you are working way too hard!
  • The same goes for U2U’s CAML Query Builder. Hat’s off! This is a great time saver and you can find it here.
  • You know you’ll need Office 2007!
  • Even if you don’t need all of Office 2007, you will need Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007.
  • Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET Framework 3.0 (Windows Workflow Foundation) if you need to develop workflows, and you know you do!
  • Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar, is a must when working with styles and other detail work.
  • Finally, I usually need Visual Studio Tools for Office 2005 SE. You can get it here.

I am not a big fan of Visual Studio Extensions for Windows SharePoint Services, but the 1.1 CTP does show promise.

Edit: Not long after putting up this post they released Visual Studio Extensions for Windows SharePoint Services 1.1 which looks like a big improvement. You can get it here.

Author: Doug Ware