The new Visual Studio SharePoint development tools are way more than “only” a set of tools that helps you during the process of developing SharePoint 2010 solutions. The new development tools ship with a whole framework that allows you to extend the tools to fit your specific needs. While the team responsible for the tools, put a lot of effort into making the extensibility very easy, there are some hidden gems, which, if you know them, will make extending the tools even easier.
The new Visual Studio SharePoint development tools simplify work for SharePoint developers. Out-of-the-box the tools have some great functionality and knowing about these gems allows you to fully benefit of the power of the new tools. One of such gems can be used to make the process of provisioning multiple assemblies with a simple SharePoint Solution (WSP) easier.
The new Visual Studio SharePoint development tools ship with a broad support for the process of developing SharePoint solutions. One part of that process is packaging SharePoint artifacts into a WSP package and deploying it to a SharePoint server. By know you probably know that the Visual Studio SharePoint development tools are highly extensible, but did you know that you can even extend the way how the Visual Studio SharePoint development tools package SharePoint artifacts?
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!