SharePoint ships with the SPBuiltInFieldId class which allows you to access the ID’s of all the out-of-the-box available fields using intellisense. This is very important in scenarios when your solution heavy relies on custom development and working with list items. The SPBuiltInFieldId class makes working with Content Types and Columns easier: instead of typing the names you can use the Properties of the SPBuiltInFieldId and get to all the standard SharePoint fields using intellisense.
Recently I wrote an article about automating the generation of the DDF files used to package SharePoint Solutions. In my example I used a custom Visual Studio T4 template to generate the DDF file. As a scenario I used a Web Content Management (WCM) solution, which contained a lot of assets to be provisioned to SharePoint. While working with WCM solutions generating and maintaining the DDF files is not the only challenge. As all the different assets are being provisioned using Features you also have to maintain two more files: Feature.xml and Elements.xml. Once again the T4 templates can help you get the job done.
Packaging solutions built on the SharePoint platform into WSP packages has proven to be the way to deploy your work in a structured and repeatable manner. While there are many different tools available which can support you in packaging your work, there are scenarios when they are not sufficient. As some of the tools are open source you could modify them to fit your requirements but did you know that Visual Studio can help you with creating WSP files?
Sometimes doing the simplest things turns out to be unnecessary difficult. This is true with SharePoint development in particular. For example: have you ever tried creating a menu control based on a standard Site Map Provider which would render a nested unordered list (UL) and nothing else? I have, and finally have a solution that I’m happy about: a templates-based menu control.
Recently I got interested in Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Services and SharePoint. I’ve heard some great stories about how WCF can improve the architecture of your solutions. On the other hand I’ve heard some complaints about how complex the integration with SharePoint is. To keep it short: reason enough to check it out myself.