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SharePoint Apps

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Starting off SPC12 this year, I decided to check out a few sessions about the SharePoint 2013 Apps. There has been quite a bit of hype about them and I wanted to see what it was all about.

To start off, there seems to be a lot of focus on the Office Apps. Although they are cool, at this point I have a hard time seeing real world uses.
For example, as shown in a picture taken of a slide during one presentation, they do provide some very cool features.

The slide shows an Excel spreadsheet that includes a “Bing Maps App” inside the spreadsheet to map the cost of living across the country. This shows the amazing possibilities, but I’m interested to see how much it catches on or what the user adoption is like. A cool feature with the apps is that when you add an app to a spreadsheet, or word document, the app will stay with the saved document for the life of the document or it until it is removed.
There was another example app shown where you can select data from a table in word or excel and using an app propagate the rows to a list or create a list based on the selection.

I haven’t had the time to put together any example code yet, but using javascript it’s very easy to write code that gets the selected data and can then be parsed.

We also learned about the 3 different types of hosting models for Apps:

o SharePoint Hosted App (Parent Web) – App Web
• Created into a separate app web that is under the parent web
• Reuse web elements (ListViews, files, ect)
• NO Server code!!! Use Client javascript for logic, UX
o Cloud Based
• Can allow Server Side code
• Provided-Hosted App (SharePoint Web -> Hosted Site)
 Bring your infrastructure
• Autohosted App (Sharepoint Web -> Azure)
 Deploy your app and it is pushed directly to Azure
Although there are many features involved with apps, the coolest takeaway for me was the ability to create MVC cloud apps. How many times have people complained about not being able to use Razor and MVC in SharePoint. Now you can! Visual Studio 2012 allows you to create an MVC application and then convert it to an app project! Actually you can create a variety of applications and simply convert them. I’m sure this will make many developers quite happy.

Day one has been a success and there is so much more to learn about SharePoint 2013.

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