Visual Studio 2015 Community Sharepoint

SharePoint Development with Visual Studio Community 2015

With Visual Studio Community 2015 you get a full Visual Studio version for free! In following post you can learn how to download it and – for SharePoint – how to install the Office Developer Tools.

The New Microsoft

I am just as excited as other bloggers like Tobias Zimmergren about Microsoft’s new strategy Mobile First, Cloud First that seems to lead to a new Microsoft corporation that invents itself in surprisingly fast steps. In November 2014 Microsoft made another great step in its opening process. As S. Somasegar wrote they were Opening up Visual Studio and .NET to Every Developer, Any Application. That is they open up Visual Studio development to a broader community. And they release free versions and offer more Open Source projects then ever.

Great news isn’t it?   🙂

For SharePoint development you need an additional tool – the Office Developer Tools. There is one for Visual Studio 2013 and one for Visual Studio 2015. Both versions launch a Web Platform Installer pointing to the entry for the Office Developer Tools.

2013: You needed the “Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013”

Back in 2013 the Visual Studio Community 2013 version replaced the free Expression version of Visual Studio.
Additionally you needed the Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013. This link starts a download of the file OfficeToolsForVS2013Update1.exe. If you don’t thrust a download from the URL (which is indeed a Microsoft URL) you can have a look at this Microsoft Announcement, the link Download the Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013 – March 2014 Update points to the same file. On this StackExchange page you can find further information.

2015: You need the “Office Developer Tools”

Last week Visual Studio Community 2015 was released. See following post from S. Somasegar or this german news at heise online. (It’s great to see how many 3rd party tools they integrated. I can’t wait to try out Apache Cordova for JavaScript development)

With Visual Studio Community 2015 the tools were renamed from “Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013” to “Office Developer Tools”. As a user wrote on this SharePoint Community page you can download the Office Developer Tools here. Click on the button Get Office Developer Tools.

Visual Studio 2015 Community Sharepoint - Get Office Developer Tools

There is already an Update 1 available that includes a vocabulary change. In 2015, the SharePoint “app model” name was changed to the “add-in model.”. Presumably, this change in name was necessary to introduce the SharePoint Mobile App.

Meanwhile there is an Update 2 available as well.

The “Get Office Developer Tools” link already points to these updates. As you can see in the comment from user Sean Laberee about Update 1 the link is correct even though it downloads OfficeToolsForVS2015.exe which is the same as what you used in August (first release) and November (Update 1). It also launches the Web Platform Installer pointing to the entry for the latest update of the Office Developer Tools.

As Tobias wrote

One word. WOW.
Boy am I glad I chose to work with Microsoft technologies back in the day when I had to choose the direction for my professional career.

From blog “Zimmergren’s thoughts on tech”


[Update: reduced the uncommon name “installer”, replaced with “Office Developer Tools”; information added about the Update 1 and 2]

SharePoint Configuration and Configuration Management

At the moment I read a lot about SharePoint configuration since I’m doing initial SharePoint configuration tasks. Here are two useful blog posts I have found.

Top 10 SharePoint Configuration Mistakes

Top 10 SharePoint 2010 Configuration MistakesThis blog post lists the top 10 SharePoint 2010 configuration mistakes (applies for SharePoint 2013 as well). I recommend to read this post before start doing basic configurations! 🙂

Besides the well-known ‘don’t use the SharePoint configuration wizard’ it names 9 more configuration mistakes such as Default SharePoint Database Settings which slows down SQL performance (and therefore SharePoint as well).

Here’s the complete post: Top 10 SharePoint 2010 Configuration Mistakes — and How to Fix Them | SharePoint 2010 content from SharePoint Pro

SharePoint Configuration Management

SharePoint Configuration ManagementAlso very useful – not only for initial configuration but for configuration management in general – is following article: SharePoint Configuration Management: Guidelines and Tips.

It shows how to track changes of SharePoint configuration and which benefits such a approach has.

Here’s the complete post: SharePoint Configuration Management: Guidelines and Tips

Other Ressources

25 Mistakes to Avoid in SharePoint or Office 365 (and How to Fix Them):

How to Structure your Content – Part 1: Intranet Pages

Back in the days when I was working for a big automotive supplier company (~ 200.000 employees) the company intranet pages where about to be built. We saw that one department named the pages with organization charts Organisation, the other Who We Are, the third Organization Charts. The team made the suggestion that we should standardize these site maps to gain usability (according to Jakob Nielsen a good usability shows the same content on the same place in the same way).

Standardized Intranet Site Map

So we set up a standard intranet site map. Here’s an abstract example:

Intranet Site Map


  • Home – Start Page
  • Products / Services – Choose one; if you are a human resources department you would choose Services
  • Your Content 1 – Content that the content owner / employees wishes to expose (e.g. Download)
  • Your Content 2 – Content that the content owner / employees wishes to expose
  • Who We Are – Organization Charts
  • Where We Are – Approach and Site Plan
  • Site Map – Site map
  • Contact – Head of department, its assistant and the webmaster of the intranet pages

Note that some pages are mandatory and some are optional.

We found out in surveys that the first thing users do on the company intranet pages is to use the search function – and then the site map -, so we placed the search field at the very top of the pages and made Site Map mandatory.

Size and Sorting

Another great finding from Mr. Usability Jacob Nielsen 🙂 was that content should be structured in 7 to 8 section, not more. So we decided to propose 8 sections.

To show the same content on the same place we used a trick. Since Content Management Systems don’t let you sort your CMS content folders we forced them by using numbers as a prefix.

So a typical CMS folder structure looked like this:

Intranet Site Map - Folder Structure

So now the site map and the (internal) CMS folder structure are the same. Note that after the 10 comes 20, not 11: so you are much more flexible. For example you can insert an additional folder with the prefix 15 – New Additional Folder to sort it between Home and Products / Services.

This new standard for intranet site maps became mandatory for all intranet pages and it worked for years and years.

As this concept was so successful I tried to organize my files in the same way – and it worked way better than expected, see Part 2:

How to Structure your Content – Part 2: Files, Emails and Favorites

As you can see in part 1 of this post (see How to Structure your Content – Part 1: Intranet Pages) we found a way to organize data in a way that was quite successful.


So I thought how about organize my whole files in the same way? After years of working it over following file structure was created:

Folder Structure - Files

Note that the files are sorted by time: as a company it needs to be

  • founded (10 – Law)
  • build a network  (20 – Networks)
  • and so find employes (30 – Employes). They need some
  • Hard- and Software (40 – Hard- & Software) and
  • Know-how (50 – Know-how). So we get some
  • Projects (60 – Projects) and
  • Customers (70 – Customers).
  • The administration – not computer administration (80 – Administration)
  • can create some bills (90 – Finance)
  • and has to pay taxes (100 – Taxes)


It worked so good that I decided to organize my emails in the same way:

Folder Structure - Emails

(of course folders that would be empty aren’t created yet)


And even my browser favorites:

Folder Structure - Favorites

You can find here part 1 of this post:

SharePoint 2013 Farm Installation

We want to do a SharePoint 2013 farm installation.
Do we need a installation wizard or are there any helpful guides in the internet?  🙂

Complete guide

As always the Microsoft pages are very helpful if you want a detailed or complete guide.
You can find the Microsoft guide on this page:

On this page you can find how to set up administrative and service accounts:

And here’s the section ‘Install’ itself:

Quick guide

But you can find here a shorter guide that sums up the most important steps:

Planning your farm

For planning (not installation) see following post.