SP2013: Part 2 of Design Package

In Part 1 of the Design Manager blog post I’ve taken the Design Manager under the loop and talked about each step.

At the end of the blog post you could generate a Design Package… in this post we’ll take that design package under the loop and see what we can do with it, or what is included in this package. I will refer sometimes to the previous post..

If you have Visual Studio 2012 with update 1 but don’t have the SharePoint 2013 templates yet? You can download them here –> under tools –> “Download the tools” link.

First things first, open up Visual Studio 2012 Smile 

Select “New project” and in the templates select Visual C# (or VB) –> Office/SharePoint –> SharePoint Solutions and select the import Solution Package..


In the next step you must choose between a sandboxed solution or a farm solution..


I’ve chosen farm solution just for the ease of things…. And next up is a window where you need to select the WSP file that you’ve created in part 1.


After selection just leave it as it is and click on “Finish”


In the Solution explorer you can see the structure of the WSP..


As you can see there are 2 list instances folders:

  • The built-in list instances contain
    • Master page gallery
    • Theme gallery
    • And the Composed looks gallery is something new in SP2013, the url for this gallery is “_catalogs/design” , read more here.
  • And the “normal” list instances are
    • Device channels
    • style library

As we can see, all of the “design” stuff are more and more packed together. Device channels are “needed” to give a good page layout and looks to a given device, composed looks are more of a collection (masterpage, theme, images) and everything works nicely together.

When we are going to take a look into the “composed looks” gallery than we can find the following:


in basic it’s a list that contains links to the masterpage, theme, image, font schema end the sequence in what order that the items should be presented. For the rest of the package are just some masterpage / images / JavaScript files and their elements files.

Also I’ve looked at some of the SPC 2012 content that I have and I’ve found an interesting session called “Best Practices for designing websites with SP2013”.

2 slides really stand out

The “old” way in SharePoint 2010


and the new way


So you can see that Microsoft did a lot more effort on lowering the standard for designing and making SharePoint look nice.

I will look up some more content and I’ll see if I can give you some code examples. But in the hands on labs manuals I couldn’t find any exercise that contained a Visual Studio exercise…

And lastly I wanted to give you some numbers as to why it’s so important that as a Developer. You need to learn some designing as well, you don’t need to be a full blown Designer but knowing only C# isn’t sufficient anymore if you want to be a better SharePoint developer.


So –>diversify



As you can see, people are more and more surfing the web via a mobile device (phone or tablet) and less with a desktop. So bandwidth is the new memory Smile 

That’s it for now.. have a nice day

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