Visual Studio 2005 and SharePoint

In my ongoing attempt to try to leverage the 2005 tools with our SharePoint development I continue to make some headway (not much though). I'll probably have to shelve my ideas for awhile as it's getting more and more painful everytime I try to model something. I mean, all of our code is just .NET classes. The UI is represented by Web Parts but the designers are having a hard time understanding these concepts. The problem is twofold with the 2005 tools. First it doesn't recognize somethine like SharePoint where there's an application layer, Web Services, Web Parts, a set of .NET classes to access the system (the SharePoint object model), and a database behind the whole thing. Second is that it's hard to just represent a plain jane .NET assembly as a tier in your application architecture.

In UML it's easy to put together a component called "Business Logic" then associate a few groups of classes (Domain Objects, DTOs, Services, Gateways, Mappers, etc.) with the component. That would all get deployed to a SharePoint server (or several of them) in a deplooyment diagram. In the Application designer I can only represent things for Web Services, Windows Applications, or Web Applications. Maybe I'm trying to drill down too deep but is it much to ask for a component that represents my Business Logic other than a "GenericApplication"?

On the plus side, it does understand Web Services so I've created a template that represents all the SharePoint Web Services (both Portal and WSS) which I can reuse. It did a great job of creating a definition of the Web Service and it's handy as a re-usable component, of course we don't use Web Services to get the job done as we have to talk to the object model directly. I've started building my own DSL templates for the Application and Logical Data Center designers that work with my SharePoint setups (even going so far to try to get the deployment part started but there are other challenges with that). I'm sure Microsoft will come along and provide these themselves some day so mine are just throw away at this point, but at least it's starting to look and feel like SharePoint (even if I can't deploy a 2.0 solution to SharePoint until at least 2006).

I'll see if I can get some pictures up of what I've done so far and where the challenges are. Of course give yourself at least a day to install, uninstall, and re-install your tools if you're moving from Beta 1 to the Technical Refresh. Even on a beast of a machine that I have for this (Xeon 3Ghz) its taking forever.

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