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SharePoint Apps in SharePoint 2013

 

The new cloud app model is an important feature of SharePoint 2013. Millions of users of smart phones and tablets are accustomed to downloading and using simple yet effective apps on their mobile devices. Similarly SharePoint users now have a platform that is more flexible and open for development, hosting, and distribution of SharePoint apps that are designed to be quick to set up, manage, use, upgrade, and remove.

 

What are SharePoint Apps?


A SharePoint app is a stand-alone web application that extends and enhances the functionality of a SharePoint site. An app for SharePoint needs to be registered with SharePoint using an app manifest. An app manifest is an XML file that declares the basic properties of the app along with where the app will run and what to do when the app is started.

SharePoint apps can be made for any functionality that is not readily available within SharePoint. Here are a few examples:

Corporate News App: Corporate New App is a SharePoint web app that allows you to add simple corporate news client app parts in SharePoint sites. It allows you to manage your news content in SharePoint libraries or lists or libraries and allows you to insert animations such as horizontal or vertical carousels.

Quick Poll App: Quick Poll App offers you excellent charts and provides you quick ways to create surveys and get feedback from users.

myFAQ App: This app allows you to create and maintain a bunch of frequently asked questions for people visiting your SharePoint site.

Trend Analysis App: This app helps you keep track of your schedule. You can have unlimited snapshots of milestone statistics which can be visualized and matched against each other displaying status at several points in time in a trend analysis chart.

Customer Billing and Time Tracking App: This app enables you to keep track of your projects, time, and employees. It also allows you to develop customer invoices.

 

Developing SharePoint Apps


Apps in SharePoint 2013 are not tied to just traditional SharePoint development tools and can developed on common platforms and tools for building web applications such as HTML, JavaScript, PHP, .NET, and Microsoft Visual Studio. The Cloud App Model supports a multi-tier architecture in which the app's business logic, data, and user interface (UI) can use separate components. For example, an app could have its presentation logic is in HTML and JavaScript and runs on the client, its business logic in Microsoft .NET, and its data is stored in SQL server. Apps can be designed where one component could use SharePoint functions such as search, workflows, lists, and social networking and other components could be external to SharePoint.

 

Hosting SharePoint Apps


The SharePoint 2013 app model facilitates two primary approaches to hosting apps for SharePoint: SharePoint-hosted and cloud-hosted. An app for SharePoint can have both SharePoint-hosted and cloud hosted components.

SharePoint-hosted apps are installed on a SharePoint 2013 site, called the host web, and have their resources hosted on a subsite called the app web. The apps can reuse common SharePoint components, such as lists and Web Parts; however, the apps can only use JavaScript and not any server-side code.

Cloud hosted apps for SharePoint includes components that are deployed and hosted outside of the SharePoint farm. A cloud-hosted app for SharePoint interacts with a SharePoint 2013 site but also uses resources and services that reside on the remote site.

 

Distributing SharePoint Apps through App Store or Catalog


Similar to the Apple App Store for iOS apps, Microsoft will manage a SharePoint Store that will bring together app developers and end customers. The SharePoint Store will facilitate the full experience from discovery to purchase, and updates.

Alternatively, application hosting companies such as Apps4Rent or companies can create an internal App Catalog hosted on SharePoint that contains Company-developed and IT-acquired apps.

 

Five Reasons to Have SharePoint 2013 Apps


Multiple Hosting Options: SharePoint Apps are available in Cloud App Model. This mean it provides various hosting options for your app. You can select your own web stack, have it hosted on SharePoint or have Microsoft provision Windows Azure and SQL Azure.

Uses Familiar and Contemporary Web Standards: SharePoint web app supports familiar and contemporary programming models such as JavaScript, HTML, ASP. NET, PHP, and OAuth. You can also use favorite web development tools such as Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 to build apps for SharePoint.

Offers Familiar User Experience: Apps for SharePoint seamlessly fits into the SharePoint website where they are set up and thus delivers functionality and data to the users' familiar work environment. If you make use of the new app model, Internal App Catalog or Public SharePoint Store, you will be providing your users with the ability to find, set up, upgrade and even remove apps without any IT help.

Security via Isolation: SharePoint Apps make use of isolation to isolate the app from the main domain. Apps are accurately installed to their own web site in their own domain, thus protecting your sensitive data from unauthorized access. This helps drive adoption for on-premises environments looking to utilize the Public SharePoint Store.

SharePoint Apps Catalog: An apps catalog with bunch of apps suiting your needs will be available. IT professionals and end users will be able to have these apps for corporate or personal use.



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