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I wrote recently of being tasked with the setting up of a SharePoint Development Environment (henceforth known as an SDE). Please refer to that blog post for some good links on this topic by other bloggers. I make no claim to expertise in this area since not even the experts can agree ;-) However, I did manage to successfully create my own SDE over the weekend and I am near to completing my original task of creating a VM that can be distributed among a team of developers and joined to a domain.

Microsoft recommends developing locally using virtual machines. For SharePoint development, one has to develop on the Windows Server O/S. The only practical way to do this locally is to install Windows Server 2003 on a virtual machine. This allows the developer to work independently and compile, test and debug as normal.

Shopping List:

  * Plentiful Dry Martini and Olives
  * Cheap External Drive - USB 2.0
  * Free Windows Server 2003 Standard SP1
  * Free trial - VMWare Workstation 6
  * Free trial - vOptimizer
  * Free 6 Month Trial - Visual Studio 2005 Standard (Professional for Office work)
  * Free 6 Month Trial - SQL Server 2005 (Express won't cut it)
  * Free Trial - Office 2007
  * Free Trial - SharePoint Designer (FrontPage on steroids - put it on your host PC)

I chose VMWare because it is much faster that Virtual PC and has a much better interface. Although it costs $189, I plan on purchasing my own copy to play around with Orcas, Silverlight, etc. We need our toys. If you have an MSDN subscription, then you're laughing. If not, then follow my budget download list above (ok, leave out the Martini). The list above is intended for the developer learning the SharePoint object model on a standalone machine. The MOSS install will be the "Complete" option; that is to say that everything will be part of a small virtual farm with a full version of SQL Server 2005.

I have slipped, stumbled and fell many times trying to piece this mish-mash of a development platform together. Over the coming posts I will try to highlight the steps I took to create a champagne VM on a beer budget and some of the pitfalls I encountered along the way. The next post will outline the VM strategy. Stay tuned!

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