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Microsoft addresses the need to transform full trust solutions to conform with the SharePoint app model

VisualSP Logo 250x80Microsoft addresses the burning need most communities of SharePoint 2013 users will face when they consider eschewing full trust solutions for systems built with the new Office (SharePoint) App Model in a video tutorial titled Transform SharePoint Customizations to SharePoint App Model: (01) Introduction to App Model Transition Tasks.

This video is led by 2 Senior Program Managers at Microsoft:

  • Steve Walker
  • and Vesa Juvonen

The video is the first of a set of six video tutorials on this topic, which were all published on December 18, 2014. The intended audience are “IT pros, consultants, Office developers, and Microsoft partners”.

Steve Walker sums up the content of this first video tutorial in the set as “Introduction to app model transition tasks”. The video does not claim to present a rationale for embarking on a plan to transform full trust solutions to conform to the SharePoint App Model.

The intention of this video, as well as the rest of the set, is to empower viewers with the “best practices” they require to be successfully as they address the transformation task for these solutions.

Steve Walker presents a familiar rationale for implementing the SharePoint App Model. His argument goes like this: the SharePoint app model is the same as the Office App Model. So any solutions built for SharePoint 2013 will also work fine with the other components of Microsoft’s very popular office suite. But he also mentions the new Office 365 APIs published in the fall of 2014, and the accessibility of these tools to developers not working with Microsoft tools (he mentions PHP and Ruby).

Vesa Juvonen presents the best practices (the “recommendations”). He organizes these into four steps:

  1. Move gradually to app model
  2. Align with product and service roadmap
  3. Concentration on end users
  4. Avoid sandbox solutions

On the first step, he reiterates Microsoft’s commitment to the new App Model, for on-premises SharePoint, and for SharePoint Online, Office 365. There will be no turning back, but it is OK to proceed slowly. Hybrid scenarios are mentioned as a method of achieving a gradual pace for the effort.

Juvonen cites the second point as an example of how deeply embedded the App Model is within Microsoft’s product roadmap for Office 365, and for SharePoint on-premises. Future products will be built with the same architecture (meaning heavy emphasis on client-side computing). So there will be no turning back. He encourages the audience to look at the transformative process as a functional undertaking, rather than wholly as a code rewrite. I like this point and see it as representing an opportunity for developers to include SharePoint stakeholders in the task of planning transformations.

The plea for a functional perspective on the task affords Walker and Juvonen an opportunity to focus the discussion on the third step, which is all about end users. Juvonen argues end users are completely insulated from code, so, whether the solution is full trust, or App Model, the only requirement is for functionality to be consistent; nothing more, at least nor for end users.

The fourth step is explained as a method of reminding the audience sandbox solutions are now deprecated, and, therefore, should be avoided. Juvonen touches on some of the risks of using sandbox solutions, which are probably more likely to get the attention of his audience.

What follows is an argument for the App Model as a solution for the long list of problems with full trust solutions Microsoft would like to bring to the attention of the audience. Juvonen presents these in a set of bullet-list Powerpoint slides, which I am not going to touch on in this post.

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