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With Office 365 APIs available, is there any reason to use the SharePoint app model to build custom solutions for SharePoint Online?

On Monday, December 22, 2014, Sahil Malik of Winsmart published a post titled SharePoint App Model: Rest in Peace on the Winsmart.com blog. The post presents Microsoft’s public announcement of the availability of APIs for Office 365 as a telltale indicator of the demise of the SharePoint 2013 App Model. At least for SharePoint Online.

VisualSP has published a considerable amount of training content on the SharePoint 2013 app model. In turn, I wrote a considerable amount of content to this blog on the app model and why, in my opinion, the app model made sense. So I carefully read Sahil’s post and followed one of his links to a post by Chakkaradeep Chandran on a related topic: Working with Office 365 APIs – The Raw Version.

Chakkaradeep Chandran is a Program Manager at Microsoft: he notes on his blog: “I currently own the Office 365 API tooling developer experience within Visual Studio that helps developers discover and consume Office 365 services in their applications”. Sahil Malik is a trainer who has published some of his training classes on Pluralsight. I like Pluralsight. Asif Rehmani, the CEO of VisualSP is also a Critical Path Trainer. Pluralsight is affiliated with Critical Path. All good stuff.

Chakkaradeep’s post on the Office 365 API topic is worth some further mention: his piece provides a step-by-step example of how the API’s can be implemented within apps to consume data from Office 365 (GET) and also add data to the cloud SaaS (POST).

So I must admit I agree with Sahil. There really isn’t much reason for SharePoint Online stakeholders to look any further than the Office 365 APIs as they plan apps. As Sahil notes in his post, these apps are, by definition, only available for SharePoint Online, Office 365, so organizations with a commitment to SharePoint Server, 2013, on-premises, can still consider implementing the SharePoint app model for their needs.

But some of Sahil’s comments about difficulties using the SharePoint 2013 App Model, and developer preference for trusted solutions packaged as .WSPs, now lead me to presume the tenure of the app model for on-premises SharePoint computing is either non-existent, or not likely to last much longer.

The good news is the Office 365 APIs should still deliver a more secure computing process than trusted solutions, which was the principal reason why I liked the App Model in the first place. Thanks to Sahil and to Chakkaradeep for publishing their content.

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