Two New Tools for SharePoint Development
Some colleagues have recently turned me on to two new tools for SharePoint development. Both fit perfectly my personal analogy of what software should be. For me, its a tool that gets the job done. The better the tool, the less you notice it. Think journeyman carpenter with expensive hammer. He just gets the job done better and faster and doesn't spend a lot of time admiring his tool. ;)
Both of these tools are open source which is also nice.
The first tool is STSDev, a console utility that will create SharePoint projects for you with all the various xml files, GUID's and settings already set up. You can just start coding. Two nice things about it are that it does not integrate with VS as a project template so you can use it for VS 05 or VS 08 and target .Net 2.0, 3.0 or 3.5 and there are very brief videos on the codeplex site that walk you though the basics of making it work. This was written by a short stack of SharePoint MVP's and it shows. The output of the app is pretty comprehensive. Custom build targets allow you to build to whatever deployment scenario you need and, if you're not accustomed to stsadm commands, you can echo the commands executed to the output window and copy them off to a batch file for use elsewhere.
SharePoint Manager (SPM)
Need to know the CAML for a list? Need to know where the heck that list acutally exists in the server topology? What's the static name for a column and why can't I reference it? The SPM gives you a very simple, very fast tree view of the entire server and all of its content. I have hit a few "object not set to an instance of an object" error messages but for the speed and power that you get, its worth the annoyance.