Package Your SharePoint 2010 Assets

At times, you want to package your SharePoint 2010 site customizations for reuse. For example, if you create a snazzy branding scheme, you could package it and use it on another site. SharePoint’s packages are solutions, which are a set of files that includes whatever files you want to package — scripts, master pages, style sheets, and so on — along with configuration files that tell SharePoint where to put these files.

Use Visual Studio 2010 to package your files into a solution. Visual Studio 2010 has a set of tools that make it relatively easy to package your solution.

The files inside a solution are organized into groups dubbed features, which are logical sets of files that enable functionality in a SharePoint site. For example, you might package all your branding as a single feature in your solution or you could use multiple features. If you don’t have good reason to use multiple features, don’t.

If you plan to use your solution in a few site collections, you can upload your solution to each site collection’s Solution gallery. The Solution gallery is a document library at the root of each site collection. A solution is a file with a .wsp file extension.

Your farm must have the user code solution feature enabled to create a solution. Otherwise, you have to deploy your solutions to the central solution store.

Alternatively, if your solution is going to be used throughout the entire SharePoint farm, you can have IT deploy your solution to the central solution store. Then every site collection in your SharePoint farm would have access to the files in your solution.