How to Create a SharePoint 2010 Project Without SharePoint Server

As a SharePoint developer, Visual Studio 2010 is essential for creating SharePoint solutions. One of the limitations of Visual Studio development for SharePoint, however, is that SharePoint must be installed on the same server as Visual Studio. If your development box is an Intel Core i7 (Ivy Bridge) with 16GB memory and SSD, everything is going to work great! But let’s face it… most of us are given older machines with, say, 4GB memory and an old-fashioned hard drive which slows the pace of development to a crawl.  Management just doesn’t understand why you need a server-level performance in order to develop.

Luckily there is a solution. Before we get to the solution though, let’s clarify the problem. On my development machine, I have Visual Studio 2010 installed without SharePoint installed, and will attempt to create a new project using the template “Empty SharePoint Project.”

Upon creation of the project, however, I receive the error: “A SharePoint server is not installed on this computer. A SharePoint server must be installed to work with SharePoint projects.”

To resolve this issue, I have created a simple utility that allows me (and will allow you) to create an empty project without requiring SharePoint to be installed on the same box, thus saving valuable computing resources. Here is how you can utilize the utility:

  1. Download and extract the utility to your development box. You will see a similar folder structure as follows:
  2. Run the program Bamboo.VS2010.Empty.SharePoint.Project.exe, which will be found in the root directory.
  3. A dialog box will appear as shown below. In the New namespace field, enter the name of your project and select Create a new empty template.
  4. This will generate a new project package within the directory Out, including the file [projectname].wsp.
  5. Using Visual Studio 2010, open your new project.
  6. Within your Solution Explorer, you will notice the basic project structure has already been built for your convenience as a “Sandbox Solution”.
  7. If you are seeking an on-premises solution, update the attribute “Sandboxed Solution” to the value of False, which will allow you to work with the SharePoint Mapped folder. Note: Changing the project attribute Sandboxed Solution to FALSE will require you to have Farm administrator privileges on the SharePoint Server before you can deploy this solution.

That’s all there is to it! Hope this article is helpful when developing in SharePoint Online with Sandboxed Solutions!

re: How to Create a SharePoint 2010 Project Without SharePoint Server
on Fri, Oct 5 2012 5:56 PM

Hi, I get the following errors when I try to open the project from VC2010:

1) To work with this project, either SharePoint Foundation 2010 or SharePoint Server 2010 must be installed on the system.

2 The referenced component ‘Microsoft.SharePoint’ could not be found.

3 The referenced component ‘Microsoft.SharePoint.Security’ could not be found.