Fabian Williams SharePoint Blog

Solving problems with SharePoint day and night

Can a Single Custom Action Work Across All List Types – Done in STSDEV, my response to @gvaro WSPBuilder :-)

TrackBack: http://gvaro.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!B06529FD3FC75473!1106.trak

So, I too have a good friend, Mark Rackley, and he posed a question to another good friend Geoff Varosky regarding the topic above.  Geoff did a great job answering the question by just tackling the problem straight on.  While that was very impressive, he did so using WSPBuilder… the nerve, houspa (sp), gaul,… well you know what I mean.  Now, you may say, why would i repeat a blog that was already done; well to my point, I was able to avoid several steps in Geoff’s blog, by the sheer might of STSDev, in particular I was able to build and deploy my solution right from inside Visual Studio.  STSDev uses specific templates which gives you at a minimum:

  • Deployment Files
    • Targets – a file which allows you to define your target sites
    • Images – your WSP image, plus more
    • and your DDF file so you dont have to do any STSADM commands to deploy

So here goes… using STSDev, oh and by the way, the answer to the question is YES! – did I just spoil the ending ?

Step 1 (Below): Open up Visual Studio 2005/ 2008 and if you haven’t already added STSDev to your External Tools; now is the perfect time, if you have, then just click STSDev from the Tools Menu.


Step 2 (Below): – You will notice from the onset that you have several options available to you for Templates, as well as IIS Versioning, and .NET Versions. One thing I find quite useful also is the ability to:

  1. Identify my Signing Key
  2. My Feature Icon (my ugly mug in my example below)
  3. whoa… A specific App Pool to run under
  4. 11 Templates for various SharePoint solutions


Step 3 (Below): – So i fill out some project information. Having some fun with the nomenclature…


Step 4 (Below): – Identify the scope of the Feature… See Geoff’s SlideShare for a great presentation on the impact of your choice here.


Step 5 (Below): – and abracadabra you have a Solution Created. 


Step 6 (Below): – As I mentioned in my prologue; you have various files under the Deployment Files where you can customize the target of the solution (the Site, Web App, Site Collection and/or Farm) as well as other target information.  You will also notice that your Feature.xml and Elements.xml are already created under the 12-Hive Template/Features Folder and all you have to do is customize that file.  The image you selected earlier is also populated in the IMAGES folder.



Step 7 (Below): – Once you have created, tested, and is in agreement that your code is solid, you now have the ability to FROM IN Visual Studio (Ta-Da!) deploy directly to your predefined Targets, and even Retract if you are not satisfied. These are the steps missing from WSPBuilder… see below for the options and Output Window..




Step 8 (Below): – So, if you go to your Root Site Collection, you should see a new feature and have the ability to activate it. Go ahead!


Step 9 (Below): – To test, I went ahead and created a new Site aptly named STSDEVROCKS and I created a few List and Libraries to prove the point of the question. See below. In the end, you should be able to have a URLAction that launches my Blog!







Fabian Williams Blog


Happy Hunting!


February 20, 2010 - Posted by | SharePoint Development, SharePoint How-To


  1. LOL… very nice 🙂

    Comment by Geoff Varosky | February 21, 2010 | Reply

  2. I think STSDev is definitely the way to go. 🙂

    Glad I could stir up some controversy! Thanks for the blogs guys!

    Comment by Mark Rackley | February 21, 2010 | Reply

  3. Nice work Fabian 😉

    Comment by Jeremy Thake | February 21, 2010 | Reply

  4. Great job! You’re a genius.

    Comment by Tampa Pool Installation | June 24, 2010 | Reply

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