Getting smart about SharePoint app development

LAN638 Getting smart about SharePoint app development

For anyone looking to develop applications for SharePoint and Office 365 there’s handy guide in the well-known Dummies series, published by Jon Wiley & Sons: Business Apps for SharePoint and Office 365 For Dummies.

The guide promises to explain common challenges encountered when building SharePoint business apps and to offer “best practices for finding a solution that can make app development within SharePoint more successful for your organisation.”

It says Microsoft introduced the App Model as part of its SharePoint 2013 release in order to facilitate the production of SharePoint apps, by “providing a framework for building custom SharePoint apps while still maintaining the integrity of an organisation’s SharePoint environment.” However: “Many app developers find it difficult to use and are still searching for a better way to build apps.”

It contains some examples of real-world SharePoint applications and some advice as to what application types are best suited to SharePoint.  It provides the following list saying these are ones industry analysts like Gartner and others see most often.

Form based applications. It says many SharePoint users are interested in creating form applications that can be used to easily gather or update information within a SharePoint list or library.

Forms and workflow: Applications in this category include forms for gathering and updating information as well as a workflow to handle that data in some way.

The final category of applications commonly built inSharePoint is a combination of the other two. It “consists of more advanced form and workflow applications that span one or more other systems outsideSharePoint.”

If you find the idea of creating SharePoint apps rather daunting, you are not alone. The book cites a study byForrester Research called “SharePoint Enters Its AwkwardTeenage Years,” which found “65 percent of SharePoint customers turning to third party tools to help meet their app development needs.”

It explains this figure by saying: “It’s not because they don’t like what SharePoint has to offer out of the box; they just want more. The capabilities of SharePoint are often limited when it comes to mobility, forms and workflows, management, and data integration.A third party solution can overcome these limitations by helpingSharePoint integrate its services across other systems.”

And it offers a list of situations and business needs that might call for the help of a third party developer, and a list of criteria for assessing their capabilities.

Maybe the smart way to start with SharePoint apps would be to read the guide for dummies.

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