Technology Toolbox

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Jeremy Jameson - Founder and Principal



"Development Cheat Sheets"

I like to use Microsoft OneNote to manage a number of what I call "development cheat sheets." These come in very handy when doing SharePoint development, because -- at least in my experience -- this is rarely as simple as pressing F5 after making some changes in Visual Studio. I know that's what the SharePoint/Visual Studio guys would like it to be, but I personally find it faster (and more reliable) to use my "DRDADA" PowerShell deployment scripts.

The following figure shows an example cheat sheet for the Main branch of my Fabrikam Demo solution.

Development cheat sheet - Fabrikam Demo - Main branch
Figure 1: Development "cheat sheet" - Fabrikam Demo - Main branch

Essentially all I need to do after starting one of my SharePoint development VMs is:

  1. Open Visual Studio and “Get Latest” on the solution
  2. Package the "CoreServices.SharePoint" and “Web” projects (in other words, build the WSPs for the two SharePoint projects in this particular solution)
  3. Start an instance of PowerShell then copy/paste the first four lines from my OneNote page:
    Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell
    cd "C:\NotBackedUp\Fabrikam\Demo\Main\Source\Deployment Files\Scripts"
    & '.\Redeploy Features.ps1'

Note that the “Redeploy Features.ps1” script is essentially the same actions that are performed when you right-click the "CoreServices.SharePoint" and “Web” projects in Visual Studio and click Deploy.

When I have only made minor changes to one or more files (either code or an existing ASPX or ASCX file) then I typically just run the “Upgrade Solutions.ps1” script, since this shaves precious time off the iterative development process:

& '.\Upgrade Solutions.ps1'

If, for whatever reason, I want to run the individual scripts invoked by the “Redeploy Features.ps1” script, then I have a series of commands in my OneNote page to “DRDADA” the solutions/features:

& '.\Deactivate Features.ps1'
& '.\Retract Solutions.ps1'
& '.\Delete Solutions.ps1'
& '.\Add Solutions.ps1'
& '.\Deploy Solutions.ps1'
& '.\Activate Features.ps1'

Note that when you run the “Create Site Collections.ps1” script in the Fabrikam solution, it creates the root site collection in the Web application (if it doesn't already exist). Therefore if I've made some changes to the site collection that I quickly want to discard, I can run the Remove-SPSite cmdlet, followed by “Create Site Collections.ps1” and “Redeploy Features.ps1” in order to quickly get back to a “known good” state:

Remove-SPSite http://fabrikam-local/ -Confirm:$false
& '.\Create Site Collections.ps1'
& '.\Redeploy Features.ps1'
The “Delete Site Collections.ps1” script will delete all of the site collections created by the “Create Site Collections.ps1” script, so I typically just use the Remove-SPSite cmdlet directly (as illustrated above).

Lastly, if I need to build (or rebuild) my environment and just want the absolute least amount of human effort (by sacrificing a little more “wait” time), I can run the “Rebuild Web Application.ps1” script and then run the "Test Console" utility to populate some sample content. In my SharePoint development VMs, this process typically takes about two minutes:

& '.\Rebuild Web Application.ps1' -Confirm:$false
pushd ..\..\Tools\TestConsole\bin\Debug

I should also mention how I create different pages in OneNote for each branch in TFS that I frequently work on. For example, the following figure shows the cheat sheet for the SharePointExtranet branch that I created for the code sample included in yesterday's post.

Development cheat sheet - Fabrikam Demo - SharePointExtranet branch
Figure 2: Development "cheat sheet" - Fabrikam Demo - SharePointExtranet branch

The commands at the beginning are similar to the ones for the Main branch (with the exception of the path for the TFS workspace and the URL of the Web application). However, this page also contains some information about merging. For example, I frequently need to merge changes from the Main branch to the SharePointExtranet branch (i.e. forward integration) or from the SharePointExtranet branch to the Main branch (i.e. reverse integration).

While I typically perform these merges using the Source Control Explorer in Visual Studio, I use OneNote to keep a copy of the check-in comments I frequently use when merging. Also note that when I need to discard changes from one branch to the other, I need to use tf.exe from the command line (I'm not aware of any way to discard the changes when merging in Source Control Explorer).

Finally, I want to point out that while the cheat sheets often start out rather simple, they typically evolve over time to include more and more shortcuts. For example, here is the OneNote page for the Main branch of the Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) project that I worked on at Dow Chemical. You can see there's quite a bit more in this one than the cheat sheets for the Fabrikam Demo site. For example, the ELN solution includes custom SharePoint workflows and therefore it is necessary to restart the SharePoint Timer service after redeploying (or upgrading) the ELN solutions (WSPs).

Development cheat sheet - Dow ELN - Main branch
Figure 3: Development "cheat sheet" - Dow ELN - Main branch


  1. # re: "Development Cheat Sheets"

    June 24, 2014 6:33 PM
    Wow. Do you think you could share any of these?

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