The other day I was busy setting up a new SharePoint 2013 development environment, and it occurred to me that it becomes more complex to do so with each new release of SharePoint. I also noticed how I end up searching for the same information again and again. For instance, I like to keep the service account and administrators passwords on my virtual dev machines short and sweet. As this is something I don’t do often, I forget how to do it, and end up looking it up all over again.

While installing SharePoint 2013, there are a ton of factors you need to consider, such as the required hardware, software, partitioning, do I virtualize or not, etc. Installing the software itself is not so simple anymore, it requires AD configuration, database installation, nowadays the workflow engine is externalized, it helps if you know how to work with Azure, and to enable Apps you even have to fire up DNS Manager to create new Forward Lookup Zones.

So naturally, I wished that there was an article explaining how to set up a SharePoint 2013 development environment from A to Z. When there wasn’t, the next natural conclusion was that I would probably have to write it myself. I realized that SharePoint 2013 is huge and I know I won’t be able to write a complete overview in one go (if ever). Also, there may be disagreements about what is considered to be best practice and I don’t pretend to have all the answers. It seems to me that a description of the perfect SharePoint 2013 would be an ongoing time-consuming process that would ideally require the input of others. Of course, by that time it was clear to me that Wiki’s are a natural fit for this scenario.

What I did is this… I created a template that contains TOC entries of the entire process of setting up the dev environment at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/15289.sharepoint-2013-best-practices-creating-a-development-environment.aspx. In every section, I, or hopefully other people as well, will add one or more links to resources describing what to do. While we’re going, the TOC will be extended, and sections will be filled with content.

While I’m writing this blog post, I haven’t quite gotten around doing much work. At least, not nearly as much as I planned to do, but hopefully, when you’re reading this, the Wiki page is in a better shape. I have full confidence that I, with some community help, have made this to a valuable resource within a month from now.