Get Started Developing for SharePoint Online & Office 365

My company has been a subscriber of Microsoft’s current Office cloud offering (BPOS) for a over a year. It’s great in a lot of ways:

  • It’s easy to administer
  • It bundles Exchange, SharePoint, & Live Meeting
  • It includes a nice single sign-on app that allows you to move about SharePoint, Outlook, and Live Meeting without entering your credentials multiple times.
  • Users have up to 25 GB of space (although in reality mileage may vary)
  • It doesn’t break the bank
  • It’s almost always working. Given the recent press about an outage, the outages we have experienced is less than if we were hosting it ourselves.

These benefits are great except for the fact that I’m a developer. When we adopt a platform, I start thinking about how we can extend it so that our business processes are integrated with it. With BPOS, our options stunk. The extensibility features just weren’t there.

Office 365, however, has a nice extensibility story…at least with SharePoint online. As more information becomes available, I’m hoping to see development possibilities for Lync, Exchange, and Office Web Apps.

But what I do know about SharePoint Online is that Microsoft is giving developers a lot to work with. If you know anything about Sandboxed solutions for SharePoint 2010, then you already know what you need for developing with SharePoint Online. Of course there is more to it but I’ll direct you to two great resources rather than fill you in myself:

  1. The SharePoint Online Developer’s Guide: This white paper tells you what you need to know to get started. After that, it’s up to you and your creative mind to take it from there.
  2. Channel 9 Video – Start Developing for SharePoint Online: Microsoft Evangelists Donovan Follette and Chris Mayo spend 24 minutes filling you in on Office 365 and the developer “story”. It’s a good video and worth spending your lunch break watching it.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone.

Tips & Tricks for Office 365’s SharePoint Online

Office 365 is still in beta but Microsoft is already producing a lot of content. If you are thinking of moving to the cloud to take advantage of things like SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, & Lync (not to mention Office 2010 Professional Plus)..then this podcast is worth you time. The podcast is 60 minutes and is filled with tips for using Office 365.

To me, one of the most compelling features of Office 365 is the various document services that are part of SharePoint Online. It has services for Word, Excel, Visio, and Access. Early in my career I developed lots of Access-based applications and I believe Access + SharePoint Access Services is a winner. We use them internally at my consulting firm, Cogent Company. I’ll have more to say about them later. For now, you can learn about them and other topics by listening to the podcast.

End User Tips and Tricks for Office 365: Focus on SharePoint Online

Are you wondering what Microsoft SharePoint Online is and how it impacts your organization? Are you curious about what role it can play in your employees’ productivity experience? Join us for a fast-paced 60-minute session that is designed to highlight the most exciting features of SharePoint Online. An instructor showcases a tip or a feature every few minutes, which provides you with a broad and real-world understanding of what the platform can do for your users. Topics include collaborating with team sites, simplifying document access through Microsoft Office Web Apps, coauthoring content by using Microsoft Office and SharePoint Online, automating business processes, and improving communication with Microsoft Lync Online integration.

A Professional Developer’s Intro to the Office Development Platform

Thanks to everyone attended my sessions at Tech Ed North America and at SharePoint TechFest. It was a lot of fun and everyone had great questions. This type of session is a challenge due to the plethora of overlapping technologies involved.  Hopefully, the session did as advertised:


Provide an understanding of the developer technologies provided by the Office platform and explain when to use each technology.

You will leave here with an understanding of when to use Office technologies like Open XML, VSTO, SharePoint Document Services (Word, Excel, Visio), SharePoint REST API & Client Object Model, Business Connectivity Services, etc., and how to build them.

I have attached the slide deck and the demo code to this post. As a I mentioned at the beginning of the session, the MSDN Office Developer Map is a great place to go to find content related to any Office Development task. Here is the link:

The session deck has even more links and I’ll post a ton of material so be sure and check those out as well.


Download the files here.