The Surface Challenge – Part 3: Development

In this article, I will be going over the development process I follow to get a SharePoint 2013 app ready for Prime time using a Surafce Tablet device.

Development IDE

As main main development IDE I use Visual Studio 2012. In order to be able to do any SharePoint 2013 App development, one requires Visual Studio 2012 Update 1, as well as the Office Developers Tools nuggets. Overall, my Visual Studio installation takes close to 7Gb of Space. It has all been installed on my Sandisk extra storage.


All code is written directly on the device, and by that I mean I don’t use the device to connect to any remote Virtual Machines. I develop all my apps using the SharePoint-Hosted app model, which doesn’t require any server side hosting bits. Once my code is ready to be tested, I simply publish it from within Visual Studio 2012 onto my free MSDN Office 365 developer site. This allows me to do F5 debugging of my app. For those not familiar with this concept, what I mean by F5 debugging is that since all my apps are written using javascript, I can simply make some modifications in my code within Visual Studio, save them out, and simply refresh my Office 365 page to view the changes. Visual Studio keeps a connection to the remote site in the memory, and is smart enough to push any changes to the code in the background, allowing developers to debug remote apps in real time.


Once my app has been successfully tested, all that remains to be done, is to grab the .app file that has been compiled locally by Visual Studio, and to send it out to the team responsible for the on-premises SharePoint servers. They will then go and add my .app file to the organization’s App Catalog.

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