Microsoft Will Soon Allow You to Test Their Updates Before Deploying to Office 365

As cloud release cycles increase dramatically and with a complicated platform like SharePoint, there have been several cases where Microsoft’s updates to the platform have broken customizations.  These changes include HTML changes, API changes and user experience changes that when SharePoint developers start building customizations can break them.  Since SharePoint updates happen automatically, there have been reports where SharePoint customizations are breaking because of Microsoft’s software updates.

One of the recommendations for customizing Office 365 is to create development and test tenants for deploying customizations first before deploying to your production tenant.  However, when Microsoft has released updates, patches, etc. they are deployed all tenants, at least until now.

In the near future, Microsoft will allow you to sign-up to preview releases of these patches and updates so that you can deploy them to your development and test tenants to see if they break your customizations.  In addition, they will provide a release that can be deployed to a sub-set of your users in production first before being rolled out to the entire user population.

Office 365 updates process - small

Given the rapid changes to the platform, patches and updates, being able to deploy them with confidence that they won’t break customizations is a key requirement and this type of early testing approach can help your customization team ensure that Microsoft’s changes and their changes continue to work together instead of creating a conflict that breaks the user experience.