Getting started with Visual Tools for SharePoint 2010
Mindscape Visual Tools for SharePoint installs into Visual Studio 2010. To use the designer, open or create a C# or Visual Basic project, right-click the project in Solution Explorer and choose Add > New Item.
From the Add Item dialog, choose SharePoint Model:
Visual Studio creates an empty SharePoint model.
There are two ways of populating the model, both via the Server Explorer.
First, you can right-click a list in a SharePoint connection and choose Add to SharePoint Model:
Second, you can create a SharePoint data connection and drag lists from there. To create the connection, right-click the Data Connections node in Server Explorer, choose SharePoint as the database type, and enter the site URL. Using a data connection allows you to add multiple lists to your model in one go – select them using Ctrl+Click and drag them onto the model surface.
In either case, Visual Tools for SharePoint examines the list and shows the list and its columns on the model:
As you update the list definitions in SharePoint, you can update the display by right clicking the model surface and choosing Update Model:
When you save the model, Visual Tools for SharePoint automatically generates C# or Visual Basic classes for you to use in your application code. Visual Tools for SharePoint generates the same code as the standard SPMetal tool, so it provides a LINQ data context as well as the class definitions. Visual Tools for SharePoint also adds a reference to the LINQ to SharePoint assembly to your project if required.