As posted previously in my article Guidelines for Customization in SharePoint 2013, Microsoft is pushing custom code development off the SharePoint platform and providing new ways for developers to provide customizations both as SharePoint embedded “apps” (similar to what used to be called Web Parts) as well as completely external applications that use Office 365 as a backend content repository.
For those still working with SharePoint 2007/2010 and even SharePoint 2013 on premise, this is a fundamental shift to the farm deployed, server side code solutions or even the sandbox deployed solutions that were the model in previous versions of SharePoint.
In the past few weeks, there have been a few new developer tools that have been published that push this new development model even further:
- The new Office 365 APIs provide access to SharePoint, Exchange, and Active Directory data through REST and OAUTH flows, allowing for a completely external application on any platform to leverage content stored in Office 365.
- The Office 365 Development Patterns and Practices site has been re-launched with new code samples and documentation on how to leverage the latest APIs.
- The REST SharePoint API now supports JSON Light, which allows the calling code to specify how verbose the response should be in returning data from SharePoint.
- There is a new solution pack available specifically for SharePoint 2013 branding and site provisioning that includes documentation, code samples, etc.