Son of SmartPart: more details

Since Patrick is totally into business value, ROI and TOC these days, let me tell you some more technical details about the “Son of SmartPart” (aka SmartPart vNext). First of all, what is the problem that the SmartPart fixes? You can’t use ASP.NET 2.0 web parts or user controls in the current version of Windows SharePoint Services. Service Pack 2 of WSS will allow you to host a SharePoint site on a virtual directory running on ASP.NET 2.0, but this doesn’t solve the issue. That’s why we created the next version of the SmartPart (aka Son of SmartPart), which will allow you to show ASP.NET 2.0 user controls and web parts inside WSS. This version of the SmartPart will come in two flavours: one for hosting user controls and one for hosting web parts (2.0 web parts that is).

What will be supported?
Basically everything supported in SmartPart 1.1 will be available, so for both ASP.NET 2.0 user controls and web parts:

  • Exposing custom properties
  • Connectable web parts / user controls
  • Creating custom tool parts
  • Hidden custom properties
  • Access to the underlying web part / user control instance
  • Access to the SharePoint context

When will we be able to play with it?
We will be releasing a “Technology Preview” real soon. Be aware that things may and will change in the final release. All the features for user controls are implemented (but not fully tested). If you want to host ASP.NET 2.0 web parts, that’s possible but you won’t be able to use the advanced features like connectable web parts and custom properties yet.

When will the final/RTM version be released?
The final version “Son of SmartPart” will be released in the same time frame as Visual Studio 2005. Probably we will be releasing more technology previews to show you the progress we have been making.

That’s it for now, stay tuned for more news. I’m heading to the PDC again, today will be an exciting day for all the SharePoint fans. See you in one of the SharePoint sessions!

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