Build Apps for Office with the New Microsoft Tool Suite
Microsoft on Monday released Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012, a downloadable suite composed of new templates, designers and integrated lifecycle tools for creating apps for Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 and Office 365.
The Office Developer Tools provide support for creating, deploying and maintaining such apps in the cloud; application lifecycle support is also provided for all other currently available Office and SharePoint hosting models. In addition, apps for Office can be sold in the Office store or deployed within a developer's organization.
In a blog post, Corporate VP of the Microsoft Developer Division S. Somasegar highlighted some of the features in the Office Developer Tools release, noting that the tools have been improved after preview builds. Enhancements include a validation tool to ensure apps meet submission standards for the Office Store; upgrades to workflow designers; and improved remote debugging. According to Somasegar, "Windows Azure cloud service projects can be used to easily create provider-hosted apps for SharePoint." He also pointed to Team Foundation Server/Team Foundation Service support for apps for Office and SharePoint build workflows.
Somasegar noted that the Office Developer Tools are available online, as well, as part of the "Napa" project. Napa allows developers to create apps for Office and SharePoint in a browser window, and later transfer their apps to Visual Studio for further enhancements.
In order to share apps in the Office Store, Somasegar wrote, developers need an Office 365 Developer Subscription and a Microsoft Seller Dashboard. He noted that there's "a new MSDN benefit for subscribers of Visual Studio Premium and Ultimate with MSDN: a one-time 12-month Office 365 Developer Subscription." Subscribers can access this benefit from their MSDN My Account page.
Katrina Carrasco is the associate group managing editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.