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Getting started with Sharepoint

For the last few weeks, I have been looking at some sharepoint videos and tutorials and am interested in getting into it.

I am in the market for a new laptop, I had the idea of installing WSS and using it to learn SP on my vacation this year.

Much to my chagrin, this appears to be nearly impossible.

Microsoft wants you to use Virtual PC to run a copy of Windows Server 2003 and use SP off that.  The tools for Visual Studio 2008 don't have 64-bit support.

There is a company (Bamboo something) that appears to have created a very clever hack that would let me install WSS 3 on Vista... that looks to be the only option.

But now I am concerned.  MSFT seems to be deliberately making this hard.  They don't support their own OS?
Sassy Send private email
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
What tools do not have 64-bit support?

I have used many virtual machines using either Server 2003 or Server 2008 to run both 32 & 64 bit SharePoint.

I am currently using a Dell Latitude D830 running Server 2008 64-bit and SharePoint 64-bit, no problem.  It works great for development.  All my development since Nov 2007 has been Visual Studio 2008.

VSeWSS 1.3 supports VS 2008 64-bit.
nathan Send private email
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I'm a SharePoint consultant so I've got a lot of background here.  If you really want a system that is going to work well for you then you need a laptop with enough RAM and horsepower to run a virtual machine (VMWare or Microsoft VPC).  SharePoint requires a database and it has a lot of scheduled jobs and background tasks that you really don't want running all the time on your laptop.  With a VM you can start up sharepoint when you want to play with it, and shut it off when you're done.

The other thing that is important especially when you are learning sharepoint is that you'll inevitably want to reinstall from scratch at some point.  A VM lets you do that without having to wipe your entire laptop.

I recommend a laptop with 4 GB of RAM - then give 2 GB to the SharePoint VM.

I use a Macbook Pro running VMWare fusion with a Windows Server 2003 image for SharePoint.
Glen Cooper Send private email
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I also 2nd the idea of running SP on vpc. I would not want to install all that “stuff” on my development laptop just to run/learn SP.  You darn will make a mess of your computer by doing this.

In fact I am running SharePoint off of VPC from an portable 250 gig external USB drive. (one of those small self powered ones). I find this setup works quite a bit better then running VPC off of the laptops drive (both drives can be hammered at the same time).

While a external usb drive is somewhat slower then an internal one, with two separate drives splitting the workload, I get far better performance. In fact I find running SharePoint this way hardly effects the speed of the laptop even when SharePoint really presses the drive hard.

And since the VPC + SharePoint is on the usb drive, I can take it with me on the road, use different laptops or even plug it into a desktop box for in-house demos and testing. Just remember to enable write caching for the external drive and the result is surprisingly good performance….better then running it off the laptops drive.

Another way to play/test some SharePoint stuff is to use the free on-line edition of SharePoint at

For those that don’t know, instead of having my smaller clients spend a big chunk of money on SharePoint, just send them on over to the free on-line edition. It is fun and a great way to get into SharePoint in no time at all. And the price is right!

I been playing with the above free edition quite a bit of late. Often to ‘test’ something, I use office live as I then don’t have to boot or wait for SharePoint on my usb drive to start up. And office live works really well for testing since things ARE working from a end user “web” performance point of view.  So, for testing performance issues it comes in real handy.

Keep in mind that the free on-line edition office live is available to everyone. So, if you are in college etc you can use it to start your own study group for example.

However, to test SharePoint applications (and use stuff like ms-access with SharePoint lists etc.), you need to use OfficeLive “small business”. While this small business on-line version is also free, last time I looked it was restricted North America users right now.

Regardless, the on-line free edition of SharePoint is a great way to test and play around with this stuff and you can have SharePoint up and running in LESS time then it took me to write this response.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Albert D. Kallal Send private email
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

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