How to Setup a Sharepoint Development Environment

As may or may not know, Microsoft SharePoint is a massive development platform with more API’s than the .NET Framework. There are a number of blog entries and webcasts out there, but I thought I would share what has worked well for me in my experience developing solutions on top of the Microsoft SharePoint platform. Here are the tools and applications required prior to setting up your new SharePoint development environment.

If you do not have access to the tools listed above, go to this site:
It links you to a 2 GB SharePoint development VPC that you can download.

Setting up the new SharePoint development virtual machine

  1. Install 32bit Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and make sure the IIS web server features are activated
  2. Install SQL Server and configure it to use mixed mode authentication (Take a snapshot)
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 (Take a snapshot)
  4. Install WSS 3.0 with SP1 or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 with SP1
    1. * Take a snapshot
  5. Install the Visual Studio 2008 extensions for SharePoint v1.2
    1. * Take a snapshot
  6. Run the SharePoint Products and technologies configuration wizard to create the configuration database and Central administration site
  7. Create a top level site collection using the team site template on port 80 ( i.e. http://servername )
    1. * Take a snapshot

* NOTE: All the snapshots are not “required”. It is, however – good practice to have many roll back options for branching during deployment testing and troubleshooting.

Please keep in mind that these virtual machines can and will use a lot of your desktops’ resources ( memory and hard drive space ). Personally, I like to give each Virtual machine 2 GB of RAM and a dynamic hard drive size (could grow to over 10GB).

Lastly, I thought I’d throw in a link to a fast paced overview and introduction MSDN webcast covering the Visual Studio 2008 extensions for SharePoint. I recently came across this in my daily research on different development techniques for SharePoint.

This was a brief overview of how I like to build my SharePoint development virtual machine environments.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Sharepoint Tidbits from the Trenches.

2009-04-08T13:27:44+00:00 April 8th, 2009|


  1. […] How to Setup a SharePoint Development Environment […]

  2. Mark Nielsen June 13, 2009 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    I just signed up for a corp-1 (now called wss-pro) hosting plan with and was hoping to develop a wss application. Is there a way to turn this into a development environment? What needs to be installed? Is there a better way to get a hosted dev env with If I want to use this plan for a production extranet, do I need a separate dev env? I want to do everything hosted. Thanks for your help!

  3. Andy M. June 14, 2009 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Hi Mark!

    Welcome to! I would strongly recommend creating a second Sharepoint environment (if hosted, a second wss corp 1 plan) so that your changes do not effect your production environment. Keep in mind that all of our new Sharepoint servers run Windows Server 2008 x64. The best and easiest way to perform Sharepoint development is directly on a sharepoint server (with matching platforms and patch levels as the production environment). I prefer to have a local Sharepoint virtual machine running on my desktop as i code and test with Visual Studio 2008 installed. This way i can create the deployment files, take a snapshot of a vanilla sharepoint install (or current production state) and test the deployment as well. When deploying any changes to your environment I would strongly recommend running an stsadm backup of the site, backing up the 12 hive, and making a backup copy of the sharepoint web.config. If you decide to make your new server a dev environment you’ll need to purchase Visual Studio 2008 (or download an evaluation copy directly to the server). There is a Visual Studio Extensions for Sharepoint that you can then install which will provide you with some templates and deployment project wizards. Let me know if you have any more questions!

  4. laxmi November 1, 2012 at 9:01 am - Reply

    We are having SharePoint 2007 Test Environment with SharePoint 2007 and SQL Server installed, SharePoint 2007 Production Environment With SharePoint 2007 and SQL Server .Visual Studio 2012 is installed in my PC ,now can i start the development in visual studio and access the test environment or sharepoint should be installed in my pc.

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