Dev Tools: What We Can Do and What You’ll Have To Do


Renaud Comte made a great observation on my CAML comments (see CAML ? Stay for long time dixit Mike Fitzmaurice).  If CAML is here to stay, how about more than just reference info (which we have) and examples (which we’re going to provide — and if you want to help, contact me)?   Why not tools?

That’s a great idea, but I doubt we’ll have time for it, so: Attention all tool-builders:  we are not writing CAML editors in “v3”.  If you do it, you’ll have several years’ worth of usability.

Like you, I want a lot of things.  I want a VS-integrated site definition editor.  I want a VS-integrated way for editing/testing/deploying sites.  I want ADO.NET as an alternate way of accessing SharePoint list data.  I know you also want full support of all of ASP.NET 2.0’s features, better event handling, better deployability, multi-lingual support, and many, many other things like per-item security, more granular backup, etc.  We won’t get all of this (but we’ll get some of it).  We’ve got a list that far exceeds our capacity for “v3”.

We do, however, have a stealth project in the works.  We’re going to release initial XML schemas for site definitions shortly (yes, I know this should have been done long, long ago), and we’ll enhance them in stages over the next many months.  We’ll post them to GotDotNet for now, but our plan is to support them in “v3”.  I’m hoping that we can make CAML the next target.

My constant feedback to the development team is that if we have to choose what to do within a limited amount of time and with limited resources, we should always err toward things only we can do.  Providing schema validation for site definitions is one of those things.

CAML’s next on my list of things to ply/wheedle/cajole/bribe/threaten the dev team to create in its “spare time”.  It’s actually a bigger topic than site definitions, and XSDs for it would be a harder job.  It might not happen.  So I have a very specific request:

Short of a complete XSD for CAML, what kind of help can we provide you to be able to create your own CAML tools?


Comments (5)
  1. Renaud COMTE says:

    Sure, "VS-integrated way for editing/testing/deploying sites", i vote for

    Sure, multi-lingual support is clearly a top priority (french/us portal in one SPS …)

    Anyway, what a pity to choose between functionnality and tools, but time is money and "V3" has to come one day.

    (But i’ve heard that with VS.NET 2005 , code will be 75% lighter, no ? 🙂 )

  2. Bil Simser says:

    I do agree that’s its more important to deliver the next version with all it’s fixings then some old tool, it’s important to us trying to deliver solutions that work on top of or around SharePoint that we don’t kill ourselves with having to re-invent the wheel or jump through hoops each time.

    I really wish we (as MVPs) could have some kind of thread going with our wishlist based on what demand we’re seeing in the community. We’ve had a few "I wish these were in…" questions and blogs floating around but I would like to see a permanent (of sorts) list that we can contribute to and see things being addressed (or not) and priortizations. Something like an interactive backlog that the team uses based on input from various sources (I know we can’t set prioritizations but we can certainly contribute to the laundry list).

    Like you, high on my list is an ADO.NET type interface to SharePoint lists (I’m getting tired of writing gobs of code to validate the existing of a list, listitem, etc. everytime) and more consistency with lists and doclibs (event handlers for both). Deployment (and debugging) is right up there. I’ve been looking at FinalBuilder which could probably do an entire build/test/deploy of a SharePoint solution but I’d rather see a way to do this with NAnt/MSBuild.

    The XML schemas for sitedefs will be nice but I’m all for CAML tools since it’s going to be around for a few years. Now I just have to put my thinking cap on and find some time to crank out something valuable.

  3. Carsten Keutmann says:

    Hi Mike

    In lack of any CAML schemas out there, I have made this schema for CAML. Check it out and tell me if its any good?!

    http://www.gotdotnet.com/Workspaces/Workspace.aspx?id=b63fe8c3-e2da-47a8-86d5-a854c6a1f869

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