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Final Comments on O to 60: Developing Apps for Microsoft SharePoint 2013

In the final 40 minutes of a video presentation titled 0 to 60: Developing Apps for Microsoft SharePoint 2013, Keenan Newton concludes his argument on why the SharePoint 2013 App Model, and Microsoft’s Cloud App Model are two pieces of good news for enterprises in need of a more secure method of customizing SharePoint 2013.

Mr. Newton covers a bit more of the history of the custom application model for SharePoint. He mentions the SharePoint 2010 “Sandbox” feature, which was designed to provide SharePoint users with a safer method of building custom solutions. But, Mr. Newton explains, the SharePoint 2010 “Sandbox” offered ” . . . no connectivity to any web services and you couldn’t really connect to any databases or any data. You could only interact with the SharePoint environment. So there really wasn’t a whole lot you could do with Sandbox solutions.”

The Client Side Object Model (CSOM) was also introduced with SharePoint 2010. CSOM permitted the use of JavaScript, managed code, to write to SharePoint lists, or libraries. But, as Keenan notes, CSOM ” . . . wasn’t really robust”.

With SharePoint 2013, CSOM has been expanded to include not only JavaScript, but also .NET methods. At the same time, a number of APIs have been built and released. Developers using other programming languages (Ruby, PHP, etc) can use an API to leverage CSOM for their SharePoint application. REST end points have been added, as well.

The biggest change, introduced with SharePoint Server 2013, has to do with how custom applications interact with the server. Keenan Newton sums up this interaction succinctly: ” . . . with 2013, you don’t see [the custom code] running within the SharePoint box.” Effectively, SharePoint is used as a service. Apps ” . . . no longer run in the Application Domain any more.”

The plus side of all of these changes is to free LoBs to build the processes they need without fear of adversely affecting the performance of the SharePoint server. So IT need not be bothered whenever a custom requirement for SharePoint comes up. Systems can be built and activated at any time.

The remainder of the presentation is taken up with several demonstrations of Apps. Keenan Newton also lists the same hosting options for custom Apps as Steve Fox covers in our video tutorial set. So he covers “SharePoint Hosted” apps, and notes how the server is protected from errors, or potential malicious activity. In fact, app code hosted on a SharePoint 2013 site is simply HTML, CSS and JavaScript. With this option there is none of the risk for a Full Trusted Solution.

Ira Michael Blonder

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