Packaging, Deploying and Instantiating SharePoint Applications

There are tools and methods to package, deploy and instantiate SharePoint applications (I made a case for these SharePoint applications as opposed to ASP.NET applications in a previous blog post here). If you are deploying Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007) in a farm environment at an enterprise, there pros and cons of using each one:

1. Packaging Tools

  • Template – Browser Export (.STP)
  • Backup – STSADM -o backup
  • Export – STSADM -o export
  • Solution – Visual Studio 2005 with WSS extensions (.WSP)
  • Solution – SharePoint Solution Generator (.WSP)

2. Deployment Tools

  • Template, admin – STSADM -o addtemplate (.STP)
  • Template, site collection – Browser Import (.STP)
  • Solution – STSADM -o installsolution (.WSP)

3. Instantiation Tools

  • STSADM Create Site – STSADM -o createsite (with –o enablefeature)
  • STSADM Restore – STSADM -o restore
  • STSADM Import – STSADM -o import
  • Central Admin site collection creation
  • Self-service site (collection) creation
  • Site Directory site creation
  • Create sub-site under a site collection
  • Custom code to provision sites (using the SDK)

I did not include tools that do just one item (like deploying just a webpart), since the goal is to focus on complete applications. I also did not include tools that would not work well in a farm environment (like deploying using Visual Studio with WSS Extensions, which is great for dev/test but not for a production farm).

My next step now is to attempt to document pros and cons of using each tool in each scenario.