Many novices and experienced SharePoint developers have been using the technique of hosting a UserControl in a web part. Traditionally beginners like it because it provides design surface similar to ASP.NET and allows them to be productive without learning all details of how custom controls work. ASP.NET developers entering the SharePoint world find it very convenient to reuse existing component or simply have a design surface available when developing web parts. I’ve recommended and used this technique in several projects and code camp sessions. However there was always the feeling that that this is a tricky solution somehow not a VIP in the SharePoint developer toolbox.
The picture is changing with SharePoint 2010 and VS 2010 tools for SharePoint, where a new project item is introduced. The Visual Web Part is delivered as part of the SharePoint tools and makes it even easier to hook up user controls to web parts. Novice developers are finally getting a design surface for SharePoint development out of the box.
This comes as no surprise for the Visual Studio team has been working hard to make the transition of ASP.NET developers to SharePoint and I find that their attempt with Visual Studio 2010 for SharePoint is very successful.