Building SharePoint 2016 development environment – Part 16 – Installing and setting up Visual Studio


A few years ago I wrote “Build your SharePoint 2013 development machine on Windows Server 2012” series, I mainly work in the cloud now, but as the blogs was so popular, I thought I would create a new series for the newer version of SharePoint.

You can access other parts of this post below.

The last part of the 16-part series is to install and set up visual studio so you can start developing on your machine.

I’m going to use Visual Studio 2015 Community edition, this might not be suitable for you, you might have access to Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise/Professional edition. Also there is Usage agreements to the Visual Studio 2015 Community edition, which if in an organisation you might be breaking the licensing agreement.

Downloading Visual Studio Community

  1. Open a browser, and go to URL https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/products/visual-studio-community-vs.aspx
  2. Click Download Community 2015 button
  3. Run or Save then run, the download file.
  4. Once the installer has started, select Custom then click Next
  5. On the Select Features screen, I didn’t need to select anything and clicked Next. However, you might want extra programming languages, maybe the common tools such as the Git for Windows extension.
  6. Click Install.
  7. When finished, you will be asked to reboot your machine. Click Restart Now.

Configuring Visual Studio

  1. After your server has rebooted, Sign in and open Visual Studio
  2. You will be presented with a screen to connect to your developer services, if you have any sign in now. It is worth looking into if you are planning on doing some Azure, as you can get some free credits by signing up to Visual Studio Dev Essentials https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/products/free-developer-offers-vs.aspx. Either sign in, or click Not now, Maybe later.
  3. It will prepare Visual Studio for you on your machine as it is the first time it has been opened.
  4. First thing to do once open is check if there are any updates required. From the Visual Studio menu click Tools > Extensions and Updates… Update anything that needs updating.

Installing Office and SharePoint 2016 Developer Tools

After installing all your updates for Visual Studio, if you go and try to create a new project, you will find that there is no Office/SharePoint templates.

You will need to install this. Note: If you have already installed Microsoft Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2015 and Microsoft Office Developer Tools Preview for Visual Studio 2015, you will need to uninstall these first otherwise SharePoint 2016 projects will not show up in Visual Studio.

  1. In a browser go to the URL https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=51683 and click Download to download Microsoft Office Developer Tools Preview 2 for Visual Studio 2015
  2. Select 14.0.23930\enu\cba_bundle.exe. Once downloaded, run.
  3. Click Install
  4. After it has successfully installed, you can click Close
  5. Open Visual Studio 2015 (Don’t forget to run as Administrator)
  6. Click File > New > Project
  7. Under Templates > Visual C# > Office/SharePoint > SharePoint Solutions and you should see the SharePoint 2016 templates.

Getting around the cannot connect to the target site message.

If you continued from the last part to create a SharePoint project and tried to connect to SharePoint, you would have got the following message about SharePoint solutions only work with locally-installed version of SharePoint Foundation or SharePoint Server.

To get around this problem you have to add the URL’s to your host file.

  1. Open Notepad as administrator
  2. Open the file C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts. (You will need to look at all files, not .txt files to see it)
  3. Add the following lines and then save the hosts file.
    127.0.0.1 dev.cfcode2016.com

    127.0.0.1 intranet.cfcode2016.com

  4. Now when you click the Validate button in Visual Studio – SharePoint Customization Wizard you will get a connection successful message.

Other programs to install

You might decide not to use Visual Studio 2015, and use Visual Studio Code as I’m aware some developers are now doing, mainly because it is a lot faster to run on the machine. You might also want to install Office products such as Word/Excel.

Removing old Checkpoints.

Now your machines are complete, you probably don’t have a reason to go back re-apply an old checkpoint. Therefore it make sense to clean them up. After all every time you take a checkpoint a new file is created on your host, and the difference between your original or previous checkpoint file is stored within this new file. If you take a look at where your Virtual Machine stores it’s hard drive, there will be multiple files, all quite large in size. Not including the folders, this takes up over 85GB of space on my host machine.

  1. Ensure that your Hyper V virtual machines are shut down.
  2. Here you can either delete just the CheckPoints you want, or delete the whole subtree. As I don’t need to keep any of my checkpoints, I’m going to select the top checkpoint and then click Delete Checkpoint subtree from the right pane.
  3. Click Delete on the confirmation dialog box.
  4. If you look back where you store your Virtual Machines its hard drive, it looks a lot less messy, and uses up less space. (Total over 47GB)

Thank you for reading this series, hopefully you found it useful.

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