SPDevExplorer – edit SharePoint content from within Visual studio (1)

There is a great project http://SPDevExplorer.codeplex.com by TheKid that allows you to edit SharePoint content from within Visual studio. This is especially handy when creating SharePoint Publishing sites where you are editing master pages and page layouts. Most people do this in SharePoint designer, hating the fact that SharePoint Designer messes with your code and sometimes locks files mysteriously. SPDevExplorer allows you to do this using Visual Studio using the great Visual Studio editor.

See http://weblogs.asp.net/soever/archive/tags/SPDevExplorer/default.aspx for all myposts on SPDevExplorer.

The release on codeplex is a bit old and had some issues so I decided to dive into the code and solve some issues. I published my first updated version as an Issue on the project, because that allowed me to add attachments. See http://spdevexplorer.codeplex.com/WorkItem/View.aspx?WorkItemId=7799 for the updated version. Both binaries and source code included.

The biggest changes I made:

  • Https is now supported
  • It is now possible to see and edit all files

I solved the following issues:

  • Converted the project into a Visual Studio 2008 project
  • Changed spelling error Domin into Domain, make some other texts consistant
  • Generated a strong key for the SPDevExplorer.Solution project. I got an error when installing the WSP rthat assembly was not strong-signed.
  • Cookies were retrieved on an empty cookies object, this lead to a object not found exception
  • Several changes to make sure that https is supported by changing the UI that full path is shown in tree
  • You now see https://mysite instead of just mysite.
  • Added "Explore working folder..." on site, so the cache on the local file system can be found. Want to turn this into a feature to add files to the cache folders and be able to add these additional files.
  • Added "Show info..." on files and folders, shows the cached xml info on the folder/file
  • On delete file/folder, ask for confirmation
  • On delete file/folder, refresh parent view to make sure it is correct again, make next node current, if not exist previous node
  • Made keyboard interaction working, KeyPress was used, didn't work, now using KeyUp
  • Del on keyboard now works correctly for deleting files/directories
  • F5 on keyboard added for refresh. Parent folder is refreshed if on File, current folder is refreshed if on folder
  • Removed (Beta) from name in window title
  • Moved "SharePoint Explorer" from "View" menu to "Tools" menu, more appropriate place
  • Option on site "Show all folders and files". Normally there is a list of hidden folders, but this also hides files you might want to edit like files in the forms folders of lists
  • Removed adding list of webs to a site, gave an error and sites were never added. All sites must be added explicitly using "connect...". I think it is also better this way.

In a next post I will show some of the features of this great tool (video).

Note that it is not possible edit the web parts in web part pages with this tool (web parts are not part of the page), and that it is not possible to edit pages in the Pages document library, the actual content is managed in the meta data of the connected content type.


  • If you go to the source code tab on the codeplex project, you can see two patch options at the top. The last "upload patch" might be more appropriate for your purpose...

  • The wealth of the mind is the only wealth.


  • -----------------------------------------------------------
    "Anyway, I guess I'm a trifle off topic right here?.. Precisely... It appears to be like like that! Ha, Ha, Ha.!."

  • I don't know if it is just me or if every person else encountering difficulties with your web page. It appears as if some of the written text on your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please offer feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too? This might be a difficulty with my internet browser since I've had this happen before.

  • When I am trying to connect to SP site using sharepoint explorer I am getting popup window showing error( a huge window ) and started with :
    "Failed to retrieve the current version of the SPDevExplorer web service on server 'srv-moss' probably becasue you are not authorized to access the web service....

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