In yesterday’s post, I provided a custom SharePoint Server 2010 solution based on Dan Cederholm’s sample site for the fictitious Tugboat Coffee company (from his book Handcrafted CSS : More Bulletproof Web Design).
Since I had originally “ported” the Tugboat site to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, most of the effort in getting the site into SharePoint 2010 was related to upgrading the custom Tugboat master page to support the SharePoint ribbon. You can read more about that in my previous post.
However, I also took the time to migrate the previous Visual Studio 2008 solution to Visual Studio 2010 in a way that leverages the new SharePoint development features in VS2010 as much as possible. The following figure illustrates the old and new solutions as well as the key mappings between the two.
Here are the highlights from my experience upgrading the Tugboat project.
“Buh-bye StsAdm.exe…Hello PowerShell”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock up to this point, I’m sure you know by now that StsAdm.exe is no longer “in vogue.” Instead you should be using PowerShell whenever possible for configuring your SharePoint sites and deploying your solutions.
You can read more about my “DR.DADA” PowerShell scripts in a previous blog post.
Logging custom messages and events to ULS
Prior to SharePoint Server 2010, I wasn’t a big fan of the SharePoint Unified Logging System. Sure, it was great for helping Microsoft Support diagnose problems in your environment, but aside from that it seemed the only purpose of ULS was to “spew” an unholy amount of garbage to your hard disk until it managed to completely consume all remaining free space on the disk. Fortunately, after a number of patches and service packs, ULS finally managed to “contain itself” and at least stop writing until the very last byte on disk was gone.
Also, before ULS Viewer came along, trying to extract useful information from the ULS logs was typically a painful process. Before adding ULS Viewer to my toolbox, I did use LogParser for a while — which at least made the task of “diving into the ULS logs” somewhat tolerable — but I still dreaded the times when things broke and I had to try to figure out why.
Thankfully, ULS was substantially improved in SharePoint 2010. The product group also made it much, much easier to write your own messages and events using ULS. Now that you can specify your own categories, there’s really no reason not to log to ULS from your custom SharePoint solutions.
As you can see in the above mapping, my new SPLogger class essentially replaced the old Logger class that I used in MOSS 2007. I should probably cover the SPLogger class in a separate post, since some of you are probably wondering why I wrote this code instead of using the SharePointLogger class from the SharePoint Guidance section on MSDN.
I’ll try to get to that…eventually.
Let Visual Studio 2010 manage your Feature.xml files and other XML “goo”
I’ve mentioned in the past that, even after tools like WSPBuilder came along, I preferred to manage the process of deciding what to package in custom WSPs for MOSS 2007. Once you had a basic solution structure in place, creating new features and adding various types of files to existing features was really just a matter of copy/paste.
However, I must say that I’ve really grown fond of the new SharePoint tooling support in Visual Studio 2010. It’s not perfect — get over it, no software is ever perfect — and I still find myself having to frequently tweak the XML that is automatically generated as a result of adding a file to the solution. However it’s still a huge step forward in terms of SharePoint developer productivity.
I think my biggest gripe is that by default when you CTRL+Shift+B to build the Visual Studio solution, SharePoint projects don’t automatically update the WSP. In my experience, the time required to rebuild the WSP is short enough that I’d prefer the “Package” option to be the default. I suppose I really should just modify the project file to set the IsPackaging variable.
“DefaultFeatureReceiver is dead, FeatureConfigurator is not”
Several years ago, I explained why I like to separate the bulk of the code for custom SPFeatureReceiver classes. As you can see from the mapping above, you no longer need to create a DefaultFeatureReceiver class — the SharePoint features in VS2010 will easily create an equivalent for you with a couple of clicks of the mouse.
Whether or not you choose to “refactor” the build of your feature configuration code into a separate class is really up to you. Personally, I still find separate “FeatureConfigurator” classes easier to debug.
“Theme1” incremented to “Theme1.1”
In the first part of my “Web standards design with SharePoint” series, I explained how I like to use “Theme” folders to organize CSS files and related images that define a specific look-and-feel for a site. In a later post, I described how to avoid issues with caching by using “theme versions.”
Assume for the moment that Tugboat was a real site running on MOSS 2007. In that case, we definitely would have enabled disk-based caching (i.e. the BlobCache) to ensure SharePoint scaled to support the thousands of coffee addicts visiting the site.
As described in yesterday’s post, during the process of upgrading the solution to SharePoint 2010, I had to make a few tweaks to the CSS files in order to resolve some issues specific to the new version of SharePoint.
Consequently, in order to force the updated CSS files to be downloaded the next time customers visited the upgraded site, I simply renamed the folder and updated the corresponding references throughout the solution. This is one of those areas where the SharePoint tooling in Visual Studio 2010 isn’t quite “perfect.” While it does update some of the attributes in the Elements.xml file (specifically, the Path attributes), it doesn’t make all of the necessary changes (e.g. the Url attributes are not updated). This might be a result of my tweaking of the Elements.xml file (for example, to add Type=”GhostableInLibrary” to each <File> element), but it seems like this should be taken care of automatically.
Fortunately, this isn’t a scenario that occurs frequently.
Okay, time to wrap this up and have some pancakes with my daughter 🙂