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Creating and Deploying SharePoint Solution Files : Page 2

If you're still deploying SharePoint solutions manually, find out how to automate the process and eliminate a major source of deployment problems.

Create Manifest and Data Definition files
Finally, you need to create a manifest.xml file in the Source folder. The manifest.xml file should refer to the feature.xml file you created earlier:

   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
   <Solution xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/"
     SolutionId="1FE5FC37-B901-4aa3-8CA0-F8A004CAD393" >
       <FeatureManifest Location="DevXList\feature.xml"/>
Create a Data Definition File
The next step is to create a data definition file (.ddf). This file contains the instructions required later by the makecab.exe utility to create the cabinet (CAB) file. Here's the content:

   .OPTION Explicit ; Generate errors
   .Set DiskDirectory1="..\bin"
   .Set CabinetNameTemplate="DevX.wsp"
   .Set DestinationDir="DevXList\ListTemplates"
   DevXList\ListTemplates\DevXListManifest.xml ; specify cab file name
   .Set DestinationDir="DevXList\Messages"
   .Set DestinationDir="DevXList"
Check out this link for a basic explanation of the .ddf command syntax.

Creating the Solution File
Figure 4. Generating a Solution Package: A Solution Package is simply a CAB file with a .wpf extension, so you can use the makecab.exe tool to create it.
With all the prerequisites in place, you can now build the Solution Package file, which is simply a CAB file with a .wsp extension that you can deploy. The.wsp file can contain one or more of the following resources:

  • Assemblies
  • Features
  • Web Parts
  • Web Pages
  • Templates
The simplest way to create a CAB file is to use the makecab.exe command line tool, passing the .ddf file as an argument as shown in Figure 4:

By default, makecab.exe tool generates the output CAB file in the Bin directory with the name DevX.wsp.

Adding the Solution File
Figure 5. Adding the Solution Package: Add the Solution Package using stsadm with the -addsolution option, passing it the name of the .wsp file.
You need to add the Solution file to SharePoint Server using the stsadm tool, which you'll find in the following folder:

   C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\
      web server extensions\12\BIN 
Author's Note: The stsadmtool is easier to use if you add its path to your %PATH% system variable using the Windows path command.

Finally, use stsadm to add the solution file as shown in Figure 5.

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