We have been running specific JDP (Joint Development Program) internally for some of our enterprise customers on helping them move from farm solutions to the add-in/app model. Real life experiences and work done with these customers has been really the fundamental source for many of the approaches introduced for more broader community using Office 365 Developer Patterns and Practices (PnP).
We did develop specific transformation process for this JDP program, which has been evolving based on the learning's with the customers. Since process has been getting such a great feedback from customers, we wanted to provide some details around this also for more broader audience, so that also others can learn from this process. First version of the package has been now released from PnP Guidance GitHub and is available for partners, vendors and customers to take advantage from following location.
This is initial version of publicly released files which will be further evolved based on the input from the community and updates based on few needed known issues in graphics. All of this material is provided “as is” for you to take advantage in your projects or for creating your own offering around the transformation process.
Introduction to PnP Transformation Process
Here’s a video for introducing the process based on the introduction presentation for the PnP transformation process.
Here’s also slides for quick view.
What are the benefits of moving to add-in model?
Farm solutions are not available in SharePoint Online. To build customizations in a hybrid scenario or cloud only approach customers must use the SharePoint add-in model. Many customers may be looking to move to Office 365 and require your team to help them transform their customizations from farm solutions to add-in model approaches.
There are many other benefits to using the add-in model over farm solutions:
- They are the focus of Office engineering team moving forward
- Greatly reduce the risk of impacting the performance of SharePoint Server farms
- Improve the stability and reduce operational cost of the SharePoint Server farm
- Can scale out the application without scaling out the entire SharePoint Server farm
- Does not require dedicated farms for customizations due to application isolation
- Does not require downtime for SharePoint to deploy updates
- More flexible deployment patterns to improve agility and reduce time to market for the business and end users
- Allows customers/SI’s to leverage standard Web Development skills over much harder to obtain SharePoint Development skills that have been traditionally employed
- Will run in both SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online
This seems to be a growing theme among the customers and we really want to help community (customers and system integrators) on this journey to align customizations with the product roadmap.
We are looking into getting started with add-in model work, where can I find guidance?
We recommend you to start from dev.office.com. You will find samples, videos and general guidance on the add-in model approaches. If you are interested on more specifically on the work we have done with other partners and enterprise customers, we recommend you to check out the Office 365 Developer Patterns and Practices guidance (PnP), which consists also from samples, videos and guidance (MSDN) for driving you to right direction. It’s worth noticing that PnP guidance is currently concentrating more on the enterprise development scenarios around SharePoint add-ins, but will be further extended to included guidance around Office store apps, Office 365 APIs and Office client add-ins.
Is this a program which is funded by Microsoft for customers?
Right now we do not have any specific programs running around this work for customers and more specifically PnP Transformation Process is more around sharing the process guidance and templates we’ve used internally for the benefit of the customers and partners. We do not have a program or offering directly around this offering, we are rather hoping that by sharing this material our partners can more easily setup their own offerings and programs around the add-in model transformation, since there’s clearly a significant global demand on this area.
We have made decision to stay in farm solutions. Are you saying that they won’t be supported in future?
No. We will support farm solutions in the SharePoint 2016 as well, this capability is not going away. If you implement your customizations using farm solutions, it will mean that deployment cannot easily moved to Office 365 or to any other hosting environment, unless you have aligned your customizations with the add-in model recommendations. Making knowingly decision not to do so is absolutely valid approach as well even though we would obviously recommend our customers and partners to align with the product and service roadmaps.
I have questions around the provided material or add-in model topics. Where can I find support for these?
Please use the Office 365 Patterns and Practices Yammer group for the questions. We have multiple Microsoft engineering people and also PnP Core team members helping with any questions around PnP or the
What is Office 365 Developer Patterns and Practices?
PnP is community driven open source project where Microsoft and external community members are sharing their learning's around implementation practices for Office 365 and SharePoint on-premises (add-in model). Active development and contributions happen our GitHub project under Dev branch and each month there will be a master merge (monthly release) with more comprehensive testing and communications.
This is work done by the community for the community without any actual full time people. It’s been great to find both internal and external people who are willing to assist and share their learning's for the benefit of others. This way we can build on the common knowledge of us all. Currently program is facilitated by Microsoft, but already at this point we have multiple community members as part of the Core team and we are looking to extend the Core team with more community members.
Main resources around PnP program
- PnP under dev.office.com – https://aka.ms/OfficeDevPnP
- One location for all the latest resources
- PnP GitHub - https://aka.ms/OfficeDevPnPGitHub
- PnP MSDN pages - https://aka.ms/OfficeDevPnPMSDN
- PnP Yammer group - https://aka.ms/OfficeDevPnPYammer
- PnP Videos at Channel 9 - https://aka.ms/OfficeDevPnPVideos
- PnP training package (videos coming soon) - https://aka.ms/OfficeDevPnPTraining
- PnP Guidance Repository – https://aka.ms/OfficeDevPnPGuidance
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