SharePoint 2003 and .NET 2.0

Personally I’m seeing more and more people asking questions and being generally confused about building Web Parts with Visual Studio 2005 and .NET 2.0 for the current version of SharePoint. This is of course compounded by the fact that ASP.NET 2.0 has a class called WebPart, can do Web Parts but they’re completely different from the SharePoint 2003 ones.

My advice to you, weary traveller, is to simply don't bother with VS2005, ASP.NET 2.0 and SharePoint 2003 (WSS or otherwise) today. Yes, there are bloggers and MVPs out there that have instructions/sessions/presentations on how to do it however you can make it happen only under certain circumstances, and if you sacrifice the correct number of chickens (or virgins if you prefer) in the correct order on the correct night of the full moon. It's really just a big bother for very little gain IMHO.

Wait until later this year when you can just build stuff right out of the box. Trust me, VS2005 and SharePoint 2007 works like a dream.

Click, code, create.

No mess. No fuss.


  • Great advice. However, my shop, a major government concern whose task is to break the things of other governments in spectacularly explosive ways, will not be upgrading to MOSS 2007 until 2008 or later. Fact of life. However, I must now maintain and create in .NET 1.1 and 2.0. Not good for the stress, somedays its like the switch between manual transmission and automatic and keep reaching for the clutch. Some days its like speaking Japanese in Mexico. I really need to be able to develop solely in 2.0.

  • I hear ya and that's your choice. I don't know the reason behind "I really need to be able to develop solely in 2.0" and if that's more convenience or what. You can do side-by-side installs of Visual Studio and run 2003 for any web part development and 2005 for everything else. I'm just saying that it's really a lot of bother to try to setup, configure, and maintain a WSS 2003/.NET 2.0 environment and there are a bunch of pitfalls. Like any risks, if you're willing to take them and know what they are then knock yourself out. For me, I try to choose the easier path in life.

  • Can we expect sharepoint 2007 this year? We would really like to start learning to use VS2005, but sharepoint is holding things back.

    BTW: Thank you for the forum web part.. It's incredible!!

  • I agree ~ don't bother with WSS 2003.

    Though ASP.NET 2.0 and it's WebPart infrastructure is a whole another deal. Yes Sharepoint 2007 is built on top of ASP.NET 2.0 WebParts, but that doesn't mean you couldn't create an architecture that leverages ASP.NET 2.0 webpart's framework directly?

    It's not that much work frankly :)

    And where's your Forum WebPart? :)

  • Never mind ~ I found the WebPart. NEAT !! :)

  • Hi Bill, I have to disagree with you on this one. I'm pretty sure that you are aware of this, so just for your readers: it is possible to develop web parts with Visual Studio 2005 that will run in WSS 2003 with SP2. I don't see any reason why you wouldn't use VS 2005 ... And I haven't started talking about using ASP.NET 2 Web User Controls to develop Web Parts the smart way! ;-)

  • @Jan: I agree with you in that you can build them with WSS and SP2 (and .NET 2.0). I'm just saying that it's an oddball setup (for example, what if I want to deploy for SPS, I can't). Your SmartPart fixes this and is a great option, but again, it does have some setup that needs to happen, etc. just like VS2005 development.

    I'm just saying that I prefer to leave the mixture of the environments alone until it's pure and we can just run a wizard and build/deploy web parts like we can today with VS2003 and SPS/WSS 2003.

    Peoples opinions are different and some may want/need/desire the "extra" features you might get from the ASP.NET framework (like GridViews over DataGrids) but for me, I prefer to wait until everything is in sync with each other. YMMV.

  • As a Microsoft employee and a MSFT shareholder, I have to agree with Bil - ignore WSS 2.0/SPS 2003, and wait for WSS 3.0/MOSS 2007 to unleash your ASP.NET 2.0 webpart skill. As a SharePoint user, though, I tend to agree with Jan -- there are business limitations that many companies are facing that are going to prevent them from moving to the 2007/O12 versions in a wholesale fashion. I think there are enough benefits to ASP.NET 2.0 development that they should seriously evaluate if it is worth it for them to pursue in the interim (e.g., if they're only running SPS 2003, it ain't worth it, 'cause it ain't supported).

  • Bil, I have to disagree with you. If you are using WSS 2 as your development platform you have a very powerful combination in WSS 2 with ASP.NET 2.0. The complete .NET 2.0 functionality can be utilized in custom web parts, and the performance of XSLT, heavily utilized by the data view web part, is improved a lot.

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