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Essential SharePoint by Jeff Webb

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Chapter 8. Creating Web Parts

Web parts are based on ASP.NET web controls, but are otherwise fairly new. For that reason, the development tools for web parts are scattered across a number of different downloads. That makes developing web parts more confusing than it really should be. I try to address this problem by breaking my discussion of web parts into two chapters:

  • This chapter covers setting up your development environment to make writing, debugging, and deploying web parts as easy as possible.

  • Chapter 9 covers writing code to perform useful tasks in those web parts.

You can develop web parts in Visual Basic .NET or Visual C#. Both chapters show sample code in Visual Basic .NET because that is currently the most popular language. Equivalent Visual C# samples are available at http://usingsharepoint.com/samples/Ch08CS.aspx and Ch09CS.aspx.

Preparing to Develop

Developing a web part requires access to the SharePoint DLL, which runs only on Windows 2003. Therefore, you must be running Windows 2003 to do development. There are a couple ways to do this on your development machine:

  • Upgrade to Windows 2003.

  • Use Remote Desktop to access a server running Windows 2003 and do your development there.

  • Use Microsoft Virtual PC to run Windows 2003 within Windows XP on your desktop.

The main advantages and disadvantages of each approach are summarized in Table 8-1.

Table 8-1. Possible web part development approaches

Approach

Advantage

Disadvantage

Upgrade

Best performance for development.

Changing ...

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