What's new in SharePoint development tools in Visual Studio
Published: July 16, 2012
You can develop apps for SharePoint by using the following new features, designers, and templates that the offer.
Applies to: apps for SharePoint | Office 365 | SharePoint Foundation 2013 | SharePoint Server 2013
For a list of new features for the tools for SharePoint development in Visual Studio 2013, see the section SharePoint and Office in What's New in Visual Studio 2013.
Build apps for Office and SharePoint.
The SharePoint project system now supports apps for Office and SharePoint. You can use Visual Studio 2012 to develop apps for SharePoint, apps for Office, apps for SharePoint that include apps for Office, and apps for Office that SharePoint hosts.
Create apps for Office that apply only to a specific app for SharePoint or to any app for SharePoint.
Visual Studio detects when you’re developing an app for Office versus when you’re including an app for Office in an app for SharePoint project and automatically makes the necessary changes. For example, if you’re developing an app for Office project, the project output deploys to a web server instead of to SharePoint. In addition, if you choose the F5 button on this project, a rich client such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word starts instead of SharePoint. If you add an app for Office to an app for SharePoint project, however, the app for Office is added as a project item to the app for SharePoint project.
Create apps for Office and SharePoint by using new project templates.
All of the templates for apps for SharePoint, SharePoint solutions, and apps for Office now appear under the Office/SharePoint template folder. For more information, see the next section or Creating apps for SharePoint and project items from templates.
Create app for SharePoint projects.
In addition to the SharePoint project templates that were provided in previous versions, Visual Studio 2012 now includes two app project templates in the Apps folder: Apps for SharePoint 2013 and Apps for Office 2013. By using the Apps for SharePoint 2013 wizard, you can specify how to host your app for SharePoint. Based on the hosting type that you specify, Visual Studio creates a solution that contains all of the necessary projects and files. For more information, Creating apps for SharePoint and project items from templates.
Create new app for SharePoint project items.
In addition to the new project templates, several new templates for project items are available for new app-related features, such as Client Web Part, Remote Event Receiver, and UI Custom Action. Several properties have been added to the Properties window and the Properties pages to support app for SharePoint projects. For more information, see Project structure and properties of apps for SharePoint in Visual Studio.
Customize the app manifest by using the manifest editor.
By using the new manifest editor, you can more easily view and edit the app manifest (AppManifest.xml) file in your app for SharePoint projects. The editor includes customizable fields, many with drop-down list values for ease of use. This editor is demonstrated in several how-to topics, such as How to: Create an event receiver for an app for SharePoint. To view the app manifest in the default view of the manifest editor, on the menu bar, choose View, Designer. To view the app manifest in XML form, on the menu bar, choose View, Code. For more information, see Explore the app manifest and the package of an app for SharePoint.
Respond to events that occur in lists, list items, and web items in apps for SharePoint.
By adding a remote event receiver to your app for SharePoint, you can respond to events that occur in lists, list items, and web items. For example, you can respond by running code when a user adds an item to a list or deletes an item from a list in your app for SharePoint.
Respond to events that occur to apps for SharePoint.
You can handle events that occur to an app for SharePoint itself, such as when it’s installed, uninstalled, or upgraded. For more information, see Handling events in apps for SharePoint.
Create apps for SharePoint projects on remote servers that are running SharePoint.
To build SharePoint solutions in previous versions of Visual Studio, SharePoint Foundation or SharePoint Server had to be installed on your development system. By using the Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012, however, you can create and develop app for SharePoint projects without installing SharePoint 2013 on the same system. (Traditional SharePoint solutions aren’t supported for remote development.) SharePoint 2013 can be installed on a central system and used by multiple developers. This capability is known as remote development. On your development system, you must install only Visual Studio 2012 and the tools that are provided through the Web Platform Installer, which installs the Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 and all other required tools and SDKs. For more information, see Developing apps for SharePoint on a remote system.
Publish your app for SharePoint projects by using a new wizard.
The new publishing wizard in Visual Studio 2012 leads you through the process of publishing your SharePoint app projects. The wizard detects what type of app you’re creating, such as an app for SharePoint, and how the app is hosted: autohosted, provider-hosted, or SharePoint-hosted. The Publishing wizard displays only the options that each type of app requires. For example, when you publish a provider-hosted app for SharePoint, the wizard displays pages for defining the profile and the type of hosting to use, in addition to a summary page. The Publishing wizard for an autohosted app for SharePoint, however, displays only the summary page. When you publish the app, files are generated that you can install to make the app available on the public marketplace for apps for SharePoint or to a private corporate catalog. For more information, see Packaging and publishing apps for SharePoint projects from Visual Studio 2012.
The infrastructure for autohosted apps will remain in preview status for a period of time after SharePoint 2013 releases. Autohosted apps (which includes all apps that depend on Access) will not be accepted by the Office Store during this preview phase. We will update dev.office.com with information about autohosted apps as it becomes available.
Create apps for SharePoint that use OAuth.
To enable secure development of cloud-hosted apps for SharePoint, app for SharePoint projects in Visual Studio 2012 support OAuth. OAuth is an open protocol for authorization that users can use to approve an application to act on their behalf without the users having to share their user names and passwords. When you create a remote app for SharePoint, you generate a client ID and a client secret value and add it to the web application of your app for SharePoint. Also, when a web application is required for a cloud-based app for SharePoint, a web project is created that includes TokenHelper code to make it easier to use OAuth in your app for SharePoint.
Automatically generate values for the client ID and the client secret when you debug.
A client ID and client secret are automatically generated for you when you’re debugging an app for SharePoint so that it can securely communicate with its host web application. However, when you actually deploy the app for SharePoint, you must provide values for the client ID and the client secret. For more information, see OAuth authentication and authorization flow for cloud-hosted apps in SharePoint 2013.
Model and automate business processes by creating Windows Azure workflows.
To create Windows Azure workflows in apps for SharePoint projects in Visual Studio 2012, use the new template for Workflow project items. For more information, see Get started with workflows in SharePoint 2013.
Create custom activities for Windows Azure workflows.
You can also add custom activities to a Windows Azure workflow by using the new template for Workflow Custom Activity project items. For more information, see How to: Build and deploy workflow custom actions.
Use external content types to get external data.
If you use Business Connectivity Services (BCS), your SharePoint solutions can connect to external OData sources. Visual Studio supports app-scoped BCS through a new visual designer that you can use to build external content types based on common external data sources. For more information about the new BCS designer, see Using OData sources with Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2013. For more information about new BCS features, see What's new in Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2013.