Yesterday was a very exciting day for Office and SharePoint! The team unveiled plans for the new Office at a press conference, and released a public preview of Office and SharePoint 2013. You can find the press release available on the Microsoft News Center, and watch the video webcast by CEO Steve Ballmer on-demand . You can also download the release at office.com/preview.
But the excitement doesn’t stop there – if you’re a developer you’ll be very happy to hear about the new ways in which you’ll be able to develop for Office and SharePoint.
Office and SharePoint 2013 feature a new Cloud App Model that embraces web standards, and allows you to build a new class of apps that combine web technologies and cloud services, right within Office and SharePoint. One of the primary investments for Office and SharePoint 2013 has been cloud enablement. Apps can be hosted in the cloud, which enables you to deploy, update and maintain your apps more quickly. You also have the ability to publish and sell your apps through a new Office Store, or distribute IT approved apps through an internal App Catalog within your organization. To learn more about the new Cloud App Model and Office Store, I recommend reading Ludovic Hauduc’s announcement and watching the videos on the new Apps for Office and SharePoint blog.
In sync with yesterday’s Office and SharePoint release, I’m happy to share that we released a preview of a new toolset called “Napa”, which is the easiest way to start building apps for the new Cloud App Model. As we set out to create developer tools for the new Cloud App Model, we took a fresh look at the overall solution we wanted to give to our customers. We wanted to provide a lightweight, in-browser experience, so that you could quickly build your SharePoint or Office web app in the same browser where they would run. Therefore, we created a first-class development environment called “Napa”, as an online companion to Visual Studio.
“Napa” is a free app for SharePoint. Since “Napa” is web based, you don’t need to install anything on your machine to start developing for Office and SharePoint. Just fire up your browser and start coding. As your application matures and you need more advanced tools, you can seamlessly switch to the more powerful, fully featured Visual Studio IDE, and continue developing there. To learn more about the latest advances in Visual Studio 2012 tooling for SharePoint, please visit MSDN.
Of course, in parallel with “Napa”, you can still continue using the existing extensibility models for Office and SharePoint, like VBA, COM, VSTO, and SharePoint solutions. (However, please note that these cannot be submitted to the new Office Store.)
Let’s take a peek at what this all looks like. To give “Napa” a try, first sign up for the Microsoft Office 365 Developer Preview at http://dev.office.com.
When you sign up, a Developer site will be created for you. This site gives you your own instance of Office 365, where you can develop, deploy and test your Office 365 apps.
Next, you’ll want to install “Napa” in order to add the tools to your Developer Site.
(Please visit MSDN for the complete instructions on these “Getting Started” steps.)