I am curious as to whether anyone has actually found a decent, flexible SharePoint host that allows SharePoint developers the level of use that would be required in order to have a formidable public development environment. I personally have never seen one, and I know, I might be kinda obnoxious with my demands (as I will elaborate on shortly). That being said, I can understand why several companies don’t offer some of these things, as the security risk would be enormous, but I am just curious if one does.
I guess I am just trying to feel the pulse of where the hosting community sits with the whole thing.
Firstly, let me qualify what would make a good SharePoint development host in my eyes, here are six things I would look for.
1) I want access to the Bin folder, I don’t require access to the GAC even though it limits what I can do in terms of SharePoint receivers. I would like access to the GAC though, so perhaps there is a way where the hosting provider could do a code review of my deliverables, compile it and deploy my solution for me (I would understand an added cost to a hosting package if this was offered).
2) I want access to my web.config. I know, I am being picky :) But I think it is necessary in order to do my development. I would be willing to script these changes manually, either bumped into ou out of a solution package, but access to the web.config, plain and simple, would be awesome.
4) It would be neato if I could take advantage of application pages (i.e. give me a directory in layouts where I can point to in my feature definition), since they work really well when creating features that interact with other SharePoint segments such as ECB’s.
5) It would be nice if by default some known, popular enterprise packages were already put on your server ready for use (and updated relatively frequently). Meaning things like log4net. That would be the bees knees.
6) A scheme for elevated privileges. I think for any good development system, I want to be informed of how we can work together so I can use things like RunWithElevatedPrivaleges, so I don’t violate any of your policies since I would be leveraging the application pool account.
Has anyone else wanted this or seen an offering like this?