A Practical Guide to SharePoint 2013

A Practical Guide to SharePoint 2013
A Practical Guide to SharePoint 2013 - Book by Saifullah Shafiq

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

SharePoint Online (Office 365) Development - Part 1

SharePoint Online provides a robust, flexible development environment for developers to create custom solutions. SharePoint Online is a cloud based service, hosted by Microsoft, for businesses of all sizes. Instead of installing and deploying SharePoint server on premises, businesses can simply subscribe to SharePoint Online to provide their employees with an enterprise grade solution to create sites to share documents with colleagues, partners, and customers. SharePoint Online provides the following features:

  • Teams can manage documents and files online.
  • Teams can collaborate and work on projects online.
  • Company sites are a source of information for the employees and sites are available to all employees. Public sites are available to clients and partners.
  • SharePoint Online is secure.
SharePoint Online is customizable. It can be customized in three ways:
  • You can use browser to do configurations and settings.
  • You can customize sites using SharePoint Designer.
  • You can develop solutions that extend out-of-the-box features.
Now that you have seen how SharePoint Online looks like and you have learned how to create a public branded website, it’s time to learn a few basic things about the development. Development approach to SharePoint Online is scoped to the site collection. There are two development models in SharePoint Online development. One is Sandboxed solutions. It provides a framework for developers to create, upload and activate solutions to SharePoint Online. These solutions run in an isolated environment that has access to a core subset of the server object model. Developers have access to the major objects at site collection level. The other model is Client object model. This model provides three representations of the core objects in the server side model: 
(i) .NET framework managed model 
(ii) Silverlight model 
(iii) ECMAScript model. Client object models provide remote access to SharePoint data and functionality.

In this chapter, you will learn how to setup the development environment and develop your first “Hello World” application.

If you already have access to the online environment then you are ready to explore the environment for development. If you haven't tried it before, you can sign-up for a trial account that gives you access for 30 days. If you have MSDN subscription, you get full 1-year access to SharePoint Online and you can add development tools for free. These development tools are called as “Napa” Office 365 development tools. “Napa” tools are a great way to get started building apps for Office or SharePoint directly out of a browser window. There is no need to install any other tools such as Visual Studio. All you need is an Office 365 account and a browser. To get started, sign up for an Office 365 developer site. Then, install “Napa” tools. To sign up go to the following page and click Sign up for an Office 365 Developer Site.

There are three ways to get access to the developer site. You need to have an MSDN subscription. Second option is to purchase an enterprise subscription. Third option is to get a free 30-days trial. Sign-up process is easy and takes just a few minutes. Once you have signed up, provisioning takes some time to complete and after the servers have been provisioned, you can start developing apps.

Figure 1: Activate subscription in MSDN

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