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A Presentation of the Spectrum of App Development Options for SharePoint 2013

The array of tools available for SharePoint 2013 App developers are built for 4 different development scenarios:

  1. the browser
  2. Visual Studio
  3. SharePoint Designer, and
  4. “Napa”

As Steve Fox, a Director of Services at Microsoft explains in a video titled SharePoint 2013 Developer Tools: When to Use What?, explains, “each of these [development scenarios] represents what you can think of as a spectrum, where, on the left hand side is more configuration, and some customizations, where you think about [for example,] in browser experiences. And, as you move along the spectrum, you increasingly get towards managed code, Visual Studio”

It’s interesting to note how Steve characterizes browser development methods (these are likely to include JavaScript and the jQuery function library) as better attuned with customization requirements, than Visual Studio. Certainly Visual Studio provides a much more powerful set of tools (after all, Visual Studio can be used to write programs for either server or clients, though JavaScript is restricted to the client side).

So what’s the difference? By customizations I think Steve is referring to the importance of the browser for computer work increasingly processed on smart phones, and tablets, as more businesses make the transition away from PC computing systems and, at the same time, on premises data centers. Of course, the transition from on premises computing infrastructure is the result of the increased attractiveness of Software as a Service (SaaS) offers.

Steve provides an example of the “Change the Look” feature of SharePoint 2013 sites as a development option built on browser tools. Of course, the changes effected by this tool incorporate JavaScript, though Steve does not refer to JavaScript, specifically, for this example.

While this example merely impacts on the branding of SharePoint 2013 sites, as we’ve seen from other sets of videos on the App development topic (notably those authored by Yaroslav Pentsarskyy), considerably more functionality can be achieved with these browser tools.

In the next post to this blog I will look further into this video tutorial.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved