A couple of days ago I published the Imtech Get SPMetal Definition Extension - an extension for the new Visual Studio SharePoint development tools that allows you to generate the SPMetal code for an existing SharePoint Site from the SharePoint Server Explorer. Just a few hours after publishing it I got some great feedback from Jeremy Thake (SharePoint Dev Wiki) that I decided to include in the tool.
SPMetal.aspx) is a part of the new SharePoint development toolset that allows you to generate the definitions for use with Linq to SharePoint. In the current release SPMetal is a command-line tool. At least it was, because using Imtech Get SPMetal Definition Extension you can use it from your SharePoint Server Explorer in Visual Studio!
Generating Page Layouts from Content Types was one of the functionalities of Imtech Fields Explorer – a tool that I’ve built for MOSS 2007. With the new Visual Studio SharePoint development tools there is no need for yet another tool in your toolbox. Imtech Fields Explorer will eventually be fully integrated in the SharePoint Server Explorer.
One of the extensibility points of the new Visual Studio SharePoint development tools are the Deployment Steps: tasks that are executed during the Deployment Process in Visual Studio. The tools allow you not only to specify different Deployment Configurations using available Deployment Steps but also to create your own steps like for example executing a PowerShell script. While creating custom Deployment Steps isn’t difficult.aspx), it can get challenging when you want to make them support user definable parameters.
One of the new capabilities of the new Visual Studio SharePoint development tools is support for creating Site Definitions. Using the Site Definition SharePoint Project Template you can create and test Site Definition. In order to fully benefit of the new tools there are a couple of things you have to keep in mind.