I’ve seen several questions about the Visual Studio 2010 tools for SharePoint development coming up quite frequently. I’ll use this blog post to compile them along with answers and links to associated resources:
Question: Can I use the Visual Studio 2010 tools for SharePoint to develop against a remote server?
No. The tools are designed to work against a local SharePoint server only. In fact, if you try to create a new SharePoint project without SharePoint deployed locally you will see this dialog:
Question: Can I use the Visual Studio 2010 tools for SharePoint to develop for SharePoint 2007?
No. Well, not really. The artifacts generated by the Visual Studio 2010 tools (e.g. XML documents, webpart files, user controls) are generally compatible with SharePoint 2007. So, you could create an element (e.g. a Visual Web Part) using the new tools and copy the generated files over to another project. You can also build SharePoint 2007 projects in Visual Studio 2010 in the same way you would in Visual Studio 2008 (i.e. using a Class Library). The people from the WSPBuilder project have a Beta version that works with Visual Studio 2010 that can target both SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2007 (http://keutmann.blogspot.com/2009/12/wspbuilder-2010-beta.html).
Question (related to the one above): Can I use Visual Web Parts developed with Visual Studio 2010 in SharePoint 2007?
The answer is pretty much the same as the one above. However, you can easily employ the same strategy used by the Visual Studio 2010 tools to build Visual Web Parts for SharePoint 2007 in Visual Studio 2008. Check out this video for step-by-step instructions:
Question: Can I use the visual designer when developing application, site, or master pages?
No. Visual Studio 2010 does not have designer support for anything other than Visual Web Parts. You can use SharePoint Designer to prototype a page and then put the generated markup into a page in your Visual Studio project.