Today I’ve been playing with Return of SmartPart 1.3, a shim which allows you to create SharePoint 2007 web parts using Web User Controls (ASCX files) created by Visual Studio/Visual Web Developer.
This is probably the least painful way for C#/VB.NET developers to delve into web part building without having to worry too much about the intricacies of the SharePoint platform.
Complete with setup wizard, comprehensive user guide and sample user controls, it’s a snap to get running, although you will need access to your SharePoint server both to install the SmartPart and any custom user controls. It also optionally supports AJAX controls, after installing Microsoft’s ASP.NET AJAX extensions.
There’s no need to use strong naming or even compile your controls – just drop the .ascx (and .ascx.cs/.vb, if necessary) files into your usercontrols directory and you’re good to go.