UPDATE:Since writing this VSCode 1.0 was released which told me I was using the old Git package.  So I updated Code and Git. The new Git has a better windows credential manager and is built in now, you may find the git config win.cred stuff in here is not needed, so experiment and don’t do that bit unless you need to.  Also this was on Windows not mac or Linux, so some things might be different.

UPDATE2:I created a framework for Sandbox solutions based on gulp and git and browsersync and yeoman and npm and bower etc.  search for generator-sb-framework.   It was done 2 weeks before they announced SPfx framework, I was thinking along the same lines, but without access to 365 back end code 🙂   Mine will work on SP2010 and 20!£ and 365 though.  It’s a work in progress anyone wants to help let me know. Now on with the Article.



I get asked to “knock stuff up” quite often, its a single page that has to grab data and display it in a funky way and NOT look like SharePoint whilst utilising SharePoint.

I could be deploying it to MOSS or 2010 or 2013, any of the three so I tend to write with SPServices, and I find that REST isnt done.

I tend to write these things as single htm pages hosted in a doc lib, so this lends itself to angular and knockout with bootstrap etc.

Of course when you write stuff like this, what your doing is essentially creating a mini website connecting to services that exist outside of your website, except thans to virtual folder like _layouts they are actually part of your site, you just dont have to worry about CORS.

In the past I would just create the doc lib, open the folder (webDav) and just edit away.

This isn’t good enough though, I want my stuff to be under source code control, natively and you just can’t working like this.

Today I took the time to investigate using VSCode, git and gulp to acheive what I wanted.

To do this stuff you will need, VSCode, Git for Windows, GitHub for windows is handy too it has a better Gui and Node.js installed on your machine. You need NPM in node, but it comes with node now so no need for an extra installation. You will also need a Git repository, I’m using VS online, which has its own issues.  Go ahead and install all that lot.

There are some things called bower, and grunt and yeoman and all that.  Not touching that lot. Not yet anyways, so don’t expect it here.

To start with, create a new visual studio online project, name it, pick a methodology and pick GIT as the Version control.

Navigate to your project, because next I’m making it easier to connect by creating a credential.

Explore your project and you get a page a bit like this

There are various bits on this page, but first let’s click the Generate Git Credentials.

Then click create a personal access token,  this applies across all git projects so if you have one already then you don’t have to do this again, but you need to store that user name password combo securely in something like lastpass or dashlane

These are handy cos you can revoke them and they have a lifespan.

Go back to your default code page cos now we want to clone the Git repository.  This is easier in Git Bash , this works like linux so no “DIR” commands here


Firstly, if your in a company chances are you have a proxy server.  You need to configure git with  proxy server settings.  Because git doesn’t have a bypass capability I set my proxy server up as fiddler and then I can control what’s going on with regards to bypass lists.

So as I work in d:dev I changed Dir and then set my proxies


This will set you global git config to point at local fiddler address (IF YOU CONFIGURED FIDDLER LIKE THAT).  Feel free to set it to whatever proxy you want.


There is a slight problem when using VSCode and git with a remote host, in that when you issue a remote command it needs credentials but has no way of showing them so it just hangs till you kill it.

I found that you can save you creds locally, I do that just before cloning, see next lot of commands.

Next to do is to clone the git repository you just created in Visual Studio online.  This will create the local version of git. You check in there and then sync to the master when you want. Then branch and pull and push and whatever else git does, which I’m still getting my head around.

Copy the Clone command from visual studios code page,



don’t use mine, its easy to guess what mine would be called, you won’t get access and if you do MS and me will be having words.

but do it in git bash and enter your creds when prompted.  You can use any user name you like, but use the specials credentials you created earlier as the password,  this works, other ways I’ve tried don’t.

Your creds are now cached in the windows credential manager thing, look in control panel to remove it.

Next lets open the Folder in VSCode, File->open folder and select you VSCodeDemo folder, inside of which is a .git folder.

Once open create a test.htm file and put some words in it, anything, this is a test. Save it.

Switch to the Git tab and check in locally those changes, give it a message of “Initial test” and click the Tick at the top


Now to sync up to the web, look at the status bar at the bottom and click the cloud with an up arrow icon, which means publish or the recycle icon, you will see one of these.


When you return to visual studio on line your code tab now shows the branches you have published, synced, whatever that means.

That’s the git integration done.  Have a play add files rollback etc.  Next up configure VScode and some handy plugins.

When running VSCode in an enterprise and you want to use plugins you have to configure it to use a proxy server.

File>Preferences->User Settings

This will open two files for edit, default settings for reference (dont edit) and the settings.json

Here’s mine

	"editor.fontSize": 12,
	"editor.tabSize": "4",
        "http.proxyStrictSSL": false,
        "http.proxy": "",
        "https.proxy": ""


Again Im using fidder as my proxy server, because I have more control.

Next hit F1 and lets install some extensions.  F1 and type “ext install”

it will show you available extensions, heres what I’ve installed.


You may want to control settings for code and your plugins locally per project so open the workspaces prefs.  File->Preferences->Workspace settings.  Again this opens a settings.json file here’s mine

    "minify.minifyExistingOnSave": true,
        "indent_size": 4,
        "indent_char": " ",
        "css": {
            "indent_size": 2
    "beautify.onSave": false


This sets my auto minify on to create those min.js files for me automatically. You have to force create one first by hitting F1 and type minify.  This creates the min file and from that point on its automatic. Play with this cos if you change its settings you can minify a whole directory of js files.

Next on to task runner (gulp in vs code).

Make sure you installed node.js and npm works and if thats got proxy config to do go do it (I’ll let you figure it out).

In fact go follow this guide


OK so that made no sense, but I guess you at least installed gulp globally.

So back to our project.  Open a Node.JS command shell and change directory to our project, now run the command

npm init

Enter the details at the prompts, you can next thru most of them, change the name to all lower case those it complains if you dont.  Im sure these have proper uses but for now, meh.

Now back in VSCode hit F1 and type “Configure Task Runner”

it opens the tasks.json file.  Rip all that out and replace it with this  (we will create the actual gulp task in a minute)

    "version": "0.1.0",
    "command": "gulp",
    "isShellCommand": true,
    "args": [
    "tasks": [
            "isBuildCommand": true

Save that.  Our task to create is a robocopy so on build it will copy the contents of our folders to another folder.

switch back to node.js and install local version of gulp and robocopy (cos globals wont work)

npm install gulp
npm install robocopy

In the root of our project create a file  “gulpfile.js”

var gulp = require('gulp'),
 fs = require("fs");
 var robocopy = require('robocopy');

gulp.task('deploy',  function() {
    return robocopy({
        source: 'Web',
        destination: 'd:\tmp\web',
        files: ['*.*'],
        copy: {
            mirror: false
        file: {
            excludeFiles: ['packages.config'],
             excludeDirs: ['Forms'],
        retry: {
            count: 2,
            wait: 3

This creates a gulp task called deploy (the one we matched in the tasks.json) that uses robocopy to copy everything under the folder Web to another folder on this machine d:tmpweb.  In VS code Hit Ctrl-Shift-B and that builds and copies.

So in using this mechanism we have to assume some stuff.  Firstly that we build our deployable content under a folder under the root called web.  We do this cos of all the bloody rubbish node and git pish and paff and every thing else needs.

Because we have all this stupid files in our project though, some of them are not compatible with GIT.  So we have to exclude them from git.  This is easy.

Create a file in the root of the project called  .gitignore


Add that line to it to exclude the node_modules, as that’s all that’s incompatible really.

And lastly where the SharePoint ?  You promised me Sharepoint, Tocker!,

Well what we want is to deploy this Web folder into a Document Library in SharePoint (assuming that we are allowed to have .js.htlm.htm extensions files, if not well save everything as a .aspx with no aspx code in it).

Imaging that we have our site collection and doc library, its full path is this


Well we just have to copy to the webDav folder equivalent.

This is a slight change to the gulpfile.js robocopy task.

Edit that gulpfile.js file and change destination from d:\tmp\web


 destination: '\\binaryjam.sharepoint.com\davwwwroot\sites\mysite\myDocLib',

That davwwwroot is the magic door.

That’s it.  Build SPA’s that live in doc libs with Git source control and minifying and all thatlovely stuff.

Of course this tasker stuff lends itself to all sorts of tasks, like less/sass compilation, typescript compilation for angular 2 (or just typescript).  Have fun.