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SharePoint Development Practices and Techniques

Summary

In this chapter, all the basics of developing a custom SharePoint solution have been touched on. The first step is to determine what type of development environment you need to create the solution that you want to create, or to complete the project that you are working on. When you have your hardware and the design of the development environment in place, you can install and configure it manually, but you can also use Windows PowerShell to configure your server. Especially if you need to create multiple development environments, scripting the installation and configuration can save you time and will help to ensure that all development environments are identical.

The next step is to determine a development approach. The best approach for your solution depends on the functionality that you want to build and on the environment that the solution should be deployed to. If the solution has to be deployed to a cloud-hosted environment, creating a farm solution is not an option, because you won’t be able to deploy it. The most future-proof approach is to create a SharePoint app. However, some of the functionality that you might want to build might not be able to be created by using a SharePoint app (yet). This forces you to make a decision between creating an app that implements as much of the functionality as possible and creating a farm solution that implements the exact functionality that you are looking for. If you deploying a farm solution, you will have to upgrade it if you want to upgrade your environment, and at some point in the future Microsoft might remove support for farm solutions completely. Although it will be a while before this happens, it should already be a consideration when you are determining the development approach you are going to use for your solution.

After your solution is deployed, you might have to debug it. There are several debugging tools that can be used to debug custom SharePoint solutions. The best tool to use depends on the type of problem you are trying to debug and on what type of environment your solution is in. The ULS and Windows Event Logs, and the Developer Dashboard, can give you valuable information from all types of environments and are all useful tools to help you identify the cause of a problem on your farm.