15 Useful Tools for MOSS 2007 Development

So this is one of those basic posts where everybody says: “I knew that already, but it’s good that somebody wrote it down. Maybe it’s useful to somebody else.”

If you google “tools for moss 2007 development”, you get a lot of how-tos and pocs showing how to do stuff. This is not about that. I want to list a few nice open source tools that are really a lot of help when dealing with MOSS 2007.

So let’s make it a count-down of 15:

15. Visual Studio 2008 extensions 4 WSS 3.0, v1.3
So whenever you google “sharepoint and tools” this pops up. That’s not a sign of quality, it’s a sign of: Microsoft Product. Seriously. This thing is not that great. No x64-support, creates wsps only if you define a deployment site, creates ghost entries in the solution manifest when feature names and folder names don’t match…it’s a hastle. Check it out, but don’t stop reading here! Seriously!

14. Powershell
This is just a classic. I mean, why the hell does every OS in the world have great command-line tools, but Windows doesn’t? Powershell is your answer, and as it gets even better integration into SP2010 and is going to relieve stsadm from its duty you better know your way with this one!

13. MSBuild
Read a great article on this…seems a lot like Apache Ant or Maven! Any project needs this. Build automation is the first step to test automation and regression testing. Check it out you xml-lovers out there. 😉

12. LINQ to SharePoint
Fell in love with linq when I testing a little with SP2010. Can accessing data get any easier? I don’t think so. Still a little freaky that there are no joins built-in (last time I checked), but for your simple data access on a daily basis this is a treat!

11. Firebug
Check out firebug. A really nice addon for Firefox. If you want to do some stylesheet layouting or want to check the structure of your web sites…you can use this nice plug-in to view the tree and take advantage of the highlighting feature.

10. Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar
Goes in the same direction as firebug. A former colleague of mine holds this tool in high regards.

09. Fiddler
I have been told this is THE tool for analysis (especially on performance-issues) of web pages. Check how much time goes for your requests and database calls for example.

08. WinMerge
Oooooooooh. This is tha bomb. I use subclipse for my java-projects so I am really spoiled. When using TFS (Team Foundation Server) you really start barfing. Winmerge helps you with synchronization on conflict-files as you can plug it into your Visual Studio.

07. GhostDoc
Haha. This thing is cool. Go, Rapid development! If you have a project where you have standards saying: all public methods need commenting you can use this to create dummy comments and sometimes they are not even that bad! But don’t overuse it. Quality Managers all over will kill you for it!

06. Carsten Keutmann’s SharePoint Manager 2007
Something that will be integrated into Visual Studio 2010 can be done with this nice and small executable: SharePoint Manager 2007 allows you to brows the web sites on your machine and check the state of it, i.e. the lists and items it contains. Read-only though. Sometimes it did fail with an exception, but it definitely has it’s uses.

05. U2U Caml Query Builder 2007
You can insert any Caml Query Builder here if you like. There are so many out there. But you should have one when you are not using linq2sharepoint and when you are a noob to caml like me. Really weird syntax at one point or the other. And it’s really useful when you are querying objects where you don’t know which fields to use for querying.

04. Andrew Connell’s WCM STSADM Commands
Tada! Can’t miss this one on my list. Andrew is my personal top MVP. When thinking of an increment of MVP I always think shouldn’t they be called VIPs? Anyway stsadm is the most important tool when dealing with deployment of wsps. So naturally you need to know about it. Once you know about it check out the custom commands Andrew Connell wrote. Really helps you out for testdata creation for example.

03. Jetbrains Resharper (commercial)
Makes Visual Studio almost as good as eclipse from an intellisense point-of-view. Drawback: commercial license. But you know what? I got one. Reasonable price and it makes sense.

02. RedGate’s Reflector (commercial)
The reflection portion of the tool is the important part for me and that is freeware! You can check the assemblies in the GAC and look what methods are inside and what packages and you can look at the signing key. It’s really nice. I like it a lot. Helped me a year ago with this problem.

01. Carsten Keutmann’s WSPBuilder
So Carsten Keutmann is in this list twice. That’s not national pride right there…that’s deserved. WSPBuilder saved my ass more than once on projects and it’s so easy to use. If you are not using this you will want to use a similar product because creation of wsps is what SP Development is all about…you definitely don’t want to do it yourself.

So that’s my list. Hope you found it worth your time. 😉

Here are some sites I stumbled upon while writing this post:


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