SharePoint Online General Reference
This section of the SharePoint 2010 SDK provides an overview of the developer features in SharePoint Online, strategies and patterns for successfully developing on SharePoint Online, and links to additional resources for developers to deepen their knowledge of these extensibility features.
In general, you can use many of the same development features and patterns you use for creating SharePoint 2010 on-premises solutions to create SharePoint Online solutions as well.
SharePoint Online is a cloud-based service, hosted by Microsoft, for businesses of all sizes. Instead of installing and deploying SharePoint Server on premises, any business can now simply subscribe to SharePoint Online to provide their employees with an enterprise grade solution to create sites to share documents and insights with colleagues, partners and customers.
SharePoint Online provides sites to do the following:
Manage and share important documents
Keep teams in sync and manage important projects
Stay up to date with company information and news
Share documents securely with partners and customers
Market your business using a simple public-facing website
By letting Microsoft assume much of the operational burden that comes from managing the infrastructure that is associated with on-premises software, businesses can focus their resources on what is important—their businesses. Small-sized and medium-sized businesses can now take advantage of the same enterprise-strength collaboration platform that larger-sized companies do, without having to shoulder the operational and hardware infrastructure necessary to host SharePoint on-premises.
As a cloud-based service, SharePoint Online uses redundant and geographically dispersed data centers. Each data center houses a reliable and redundant infrastructure to support the service. And SharePoint Online provides businesses with the flexibility to scale resources as demands change.
For more information on SharePoint Online and its features, including subscription details, see the SharePoint Online home page.
SharePoint Online offers developers a flexible, robust framework for customizing and developing solutions for use in the multitenant environment of the cloud. The development features and patterns you use in developing for SharePoint Online are a subset of those available for developing for SharePoint 2010 on-premises.
There are three basic ways to customize SharePoint Online:
Configuration using the browser Customizations that you can perform by using the SharePoint Online user interface in your browser. For example, you can edit page layouts, add and customize the default Web Parts, add lightweight Microsoft Silverlight widgets to a page, or embed jQuery code in a Content Editor Web Part.
You can find out more information about customizations using the browser by referring to the SharePoint Online end-user help. For more information for enterprises, see the SharePoint Online Planning Guide for Office 365 Beta for Enterprises. For more information for small businesses, see SharePoint Online Planning Guide for Office 365 Beta for Small Businesses.
Customization by using SharePoint Designer Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 is a Web and application design program you can use to design, build, and customize your websites within SharePoint Online. With SharePoint Designer 2010, you can create data-rich webpages, build powerful no-code workflow-enabled solutions, and design the appearance (look and feel) of your site. Customizations that you can perform in SharePoint Designer are generally declarative, and can also employ client-side scripting.
For more information, see Customizing SharePoint Online Using SharePoint Designer 2010.
Developing SharePoint Online solutions that contain custom code To enable more technically complex solutions, SharePoint Online provides both server and client object models for developers. Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 provides a range of specialized templates for creating sandboxed solutions that contain a variety of SharePoint items, such as site and list definitions, workflows, Web Parts, event receivers, and content types, to include in your SharePoint solutions.
For more information, see Developing SharePoint Online Solutions.
Be aware that SharePoint Online provides a range of user licenses, and the user license you have determines which developer features you have rights to use. Refer to SharePoint Online Developer Feature Availability Matrix to determine the developer features your user license provides you access to.