Keep Writing SharePoint Web Parts Until (at least) 2006

ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts rock.  We in SharePoint-land love them.  We’re building “v3” on ASP.NET 2.0.  But none of that matters right now if you have to deliver code for today’s SharePoint sites and portals.  And this advice comes from both me in WSS/SPS-land and the Whidbey Program Manager responsible for ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts.  Here’s the official word on Whidbey/WSS interoperability and compatibility:

  • WSS “v3” (and anything built on top of it like SPS) is being written with ASP.NET 2.0, and will use, natively, ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts.
  • WSS “v3” (and anything built on top of it like SPS) will carry forward the object models used for SharePoint Web Parts, so it will continue to run anything being written today.  Natively. Anything you write today will still work tomorrow.
  • ASP.NET 2.0–only sites that do not involve SharePoint technology will only run ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts.

Those are pretty much guarantees.  Now for clarification of a couple of things we’ve said in the past that have gotten distorted.

  • WSS “v2” (the currently-shipping version) won’t magically acquire the ability to host ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts when WSS Service Pack 2 ships.  WSS Service Pack 2’s date and fix list aren’t publicly sharable yet, with one exception:  WSS SP2 will allow WSS and the ASP.NET 2.0 runtime to coexist on the same machine.  And in case you didn’t connect the dots… Attention:  Until WSS Service Pack 2 ships, do NOT attempt to install Visual Studio 2005 or the ASP.NET 2.0 runtime on a machine running WSS or SPS.  Until WSS SP2 is installed, doing so will break WSS/SPS.
  • The WSS and ASP.NET teams are exploring ways to encapsulate and host some of the functionality of ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts in WSS “v2”.  We’re not guaranteeing that it will happen at all, let alone how and when it would happen.  If it happens, you should treat it like a happy surprise — don’t make plans that depend on it.  If it happens, you’ll hear about it here (and other places, too, of course). 

Whidbey will ship this year.  We won’t.  Even when we do, not every customer will upgrade right away.  There’s still work to be done with SharePoint Web Parts.

  • SharePoint Web Parts aren’t that hard.  And they’re very robust.
  • If the big appeal to ASP.NET 2.0 is that User Controls can be Web Parts, you can use the SmartPart to embed ASP.NET 1.1 user controls inside a SharePoint Web Part.  It’s neat technology.

Experiment with Whidbey Web Parts.  Use them as soon as you can in applications built with Whidbey and only Whidbey (i.e., no WSS/SPS in the picture).  But don’t plan to use them in SharePoint sites for a year.  Believe me, no one will be happier than me when we can tell everyone to write all Web Parts in ASP.NET 2.0, and if we can tell you this before next year, we will.

Comments (63)
  1. Jan Tielens says:

    Hi Mike, thanks for the info! This is just what the web part developer community needs.

  2. David Taylor says:

    Hi Mike,

    I just read your blog entry, and would really like you to clarify an important issue.

    When you said "installing ASP.NET 2 / VS 2005 will break WSS 2", did you mean that it will still break even if you configure the WSS 2 Website in IIS to use ASP.NET 1.1 / .NET 1.1?

    I just ask because I have been running both WSS 2 and ASP.NET 2 at home on a Windows Server 2003 machine since Beta 1 (July 2004) and have not noticed anything break. Of course I made sure Sharepoint was running on ASP.NET 1.1. Are you saying that some feature is broken that I have not noticed yet?

    It would be really helpful to me if you could clarify this, because I was actually hoping to run this configuration on a production box after Whidbey Beta 2 comes out.

    Thanks for any clarification.


    David Taylor

  3. David, the bits can’t even sit on the same box, period. Not until we release SP2. Sorry. Until then, you’d need to use a VPC approach if you have everything on one box.

  4. SBC says:

    thanks for the posting.. it’s good to get a glimpse of future SP developments.

  5. SharePoint, SharePoint and stuff says:

    Mike Fitzmaurice hat in einem Artikel Keep Writing SharePoint Web Parts Until (at least) 2006 einige sehr interessante Aussichten auf die zuk

  6. SharePoint, SharePoint and stuff says:

    Mike Fitzmaurice hat in einem Artikel Keep Writing SharePoint Web Parts Until (at least) 2006 einige sehr interessante Aussichten auf die zuk

  7. Kevin Dente says:


    Something that isn’t clear to me yet – will existing Sharepoint Web Parts be able to run on ASP.NET 2.0? It would be great if, for example, we could take advantage of the Office Web Parts in our Whidbey apps without waiting for v3.

  8. Kevin Dente says:

    Ah, so THAT’s what that bullet point meant. The wording was a bit confusing.

    The comment that I’d seen here:

    indicated otherwise, but I guess I misinterpreted it.

    Any idea if/when the MS teams (like the Office WebPart folks) will be releasing Whidbey versions of their Parts? Will we need to wait for the next version of Office for that?

    Thanks for the info.

  9. Kevin, that third bullet point above must have gotten lost in the shuffle: ASP.NET 2.0–only sites that do not involve SharePoint technology will only run ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts. I’m sure that independent developers and ISVs will produce charting and Web capture Web Parts for Whidbey pretty soon.

  10. hitesh says:

    Any word on WSRP support?


  11. ASP.NET 2.0 web parts and Sharepoint Service(WSS)

  12. Sean Allen says:

    Awesome Navigator and I have found many uses – Question – is there a way to change the navigator to go to Document Library views

  13. Leon Jollans says:

    To second David Taylor’s experience, we have ASP.NET 2.0 ( from SQL 2005 beta 2 ) installed on a Server 2003 instance that is also hosting an SPS 2003 installation.

    Sharepoint is fine, and in fact, Sharepoint is using the SQL 2005 as a data store with no problems either.

    We have found out already that SPS will not run if the ASP.NET version is set to 2.0, but this does not seem to prevent us running an active 2.0 CLR on the machine. I was under the impression that the two CLR runtimes were mutually exclusive anyway, so this doesn’t surprise me.

    Could you elaborate on why the two bits cannot even sit on the same box, period, since this is not our experience.

    Thanks Mike

    Leon Jollans

  14. My warnings are official ones. Our testers and engineers have warned against doing this. Our support people have said in no uncertain terms that they won’t support this. If you’ve managed to make it work in an experimental environment, more power to you. But don’t deploy it if you want to stay supported.

  15. Sean Harms says:

    Thanks for the information Mike. I’ve been searching for 30 minutes trying to find out some of these details.

    I would like to ask:

    Is it possible to take a traditional SharePoint webpart like MSNBC Weather (with a simple <content> tag) and convert it to the new ASP.NET 2.0 webpart schema (which includes <genericWebPartProperties> for example)? Basically, I would just like to use some existing webparts within the new Whidbey framework. I realize you’ve mentioned that it should "only run ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts", but is there any way to convert simple ones to the new import format? I am unable to find a reference for the import format at this time.

    Thanks for any input you could offer.

  16. Leon Jollans says:

    For the record, we haven’t had to perform any trickery to get it working, it just worked. But thanks for the info Mike.

    Leon Jollans

  17. Unless of couse you want to use them next year. 🙂 It would seem that all of us out there that are licking our lips over the new web part for ASP.NET 2.0 will not be able to use what we create for the Sharepoint v2 framework. So, those crazy (non-documented) web parts that I’ve looked into developing for Sharepoint will not be quite as ubiqutous as I once thought…

  18. Vijay says:

    I could use both FW 2.0 and WSS together!

    Modifications need to be done in IIS.

    Open IIS

    Go to Properties of DefaultWebsite or SharePoint site.

    Go to tab ‘ASP.NET’

    Here, you can choose the ASP.NET version.

    That’s all

  19. Kevin Julien says:

    Thanks for the information. We are working through the dialog right now and are considering Sharepoint vs. .Net Nuke beacuse of concerns with Web Pars and code. One of the concerns that we have is around the best practices of using Web Parts and re-thinkng how we leverage portal technology without incorporating all application logic into the portal framework. Are there best practices or guidelines here? Do you have any guidance on the two technologies to help us with this discussion?

    Thanks in advance.

  20. Hi Fitz, Thanks for the info. Our WSS V2 product consists of both web parts, pieces in a wpresources directory, and full pages in the _layouts directory. Should all this be able to run as expected under ASP.NET 2.0?

    Will my WPPACKAGER packages work at deployment time?

  21. A colleague just asked me if I could provide a pointer to any information regarding the interaction /…

  22. asane says:

    Hi can you tell me how to get .Net to do webparts. I know that I have to mention the path to MicroSoft.Sharepoint.dll, but I simply can’t find it; hence I cannot install the template.

    So any help on this would be nice.

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