Using SharePoint Designer for SharePoint Development

SharePoint 2010

Last modified: January 28, 2011

Applies to: SharePoint Foundation 2010

Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 is enhanced from the previous version to include features that can help SharePoint Foundation 2010 developers more quickly plan, design, and prototype their applications.

In the past, developers regarded SharePoint Designer as a tool for customizing SharePoint sites, creating simple workflows, and doing other non-code-related tasks only. As a general rule, developers use Microsoft Visual Studio as their primary means of creating SharePoint applications. SharePoint Designer was not viewed as a serious developer tool because there was very little a developer could do with SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio together.

However, with the introduction of the latest version of SharePoint Designer, you can take advantage of the following features to help get your development process started.

Workflows

Exporting workflows for use in Visual Studio. Using SharePoint Designer to create a workflow that represents a particular business process is fairly straightforward. The workflow design surface lets users add conditions and actions much like users of Microsoft Outlook 2010 create rules for routing email messages.

In Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, users could do this also; however a frequent request was to be able to use these workflows within Visual Studio to add specific, customized code. Users tried to use the XML (XOML) rules created by Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 inside Visual Studio, with less than desired results.

Site Workflows. In Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, workflows were dependent on a specific list or document library. This dependency was lifted with the introduction of Site Workflows. These workflows can be created and deployed at the site level, which enables workflow creators to use them among multiple lists and document libraries without having to re-create the workflow in SharePoint Designer.

For more information about developing workflows using SharePoint Designer 2010 for workflow development, see Workflow Development in SharePoint Designer

Business Data

For more information, see Walkthrough: Model a Web Service Entity Using SharePoint Designer.

Customizing Applications

In the interest of creating a more powerfully integrated tool for customizing SharePoint installations, SharePoint Designer 2010 is only compatible with a SharePoint Foundation 2010 website.

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