Speaking at Tech Ed Australia 2013

blog_speakingTech Ed Australia is being held on the Gold Coast between the 3rd and 6th September this year. I am happy to announce I will be speaking at Tech Ed Australia this year with my partner in crime, Mr Brian Farnhill with an awesome session entitled….

The SharePoint 2013 App Playbook – Your Guide to Building and Publishing a Great App

Office 2013 has brought an amazing new platform for developers to take advantage of, in the format of apps and the online app store. SharePoint 2013 takes full advantage of this and developers can now publish apps to the store and get their products out to a bigger audience than ever before with minimal time and effort. But if you have an idea for the next big app, how do you go about building it and publishing it for the masses? Well then my friend, this is the session for you! During this session Brian and Alex will take you through the full process for building and publishing apps for SharePoint and Project Server 2013 to the store. The boys will share with you the techniques and strategies you will need to create apps that will engage and amaze users, as well as what to do with an app to help make sure it makes its way through the app stores approval process and on to the app store. You’ll get to see real world stories and learnings from apps that are available on the store today, as well as what potential issues you might come across while working with your own apps. If you have ever thought about building an app or are in the process of creating one, this session is a must see!

We hope to see you there.

Building your first Project Server App : Part 4 – Submitting to the app store

In this fourth post, I thought it would be fun to go through the process of getting your app up into the Office app store so you can start making millions.

Before you decide to submit your app to the store, you need to do a few things:

  • Read the app store submission guidelines at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj220035.aspx. These highlight the conditions your app must meet before it will be accepted.
  • Register for a Seller account. Check out http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj220034.aspx how an overview of what info you need to provide and the process of getting one. The Seller accounts can take a few days to come through, so plan ahead and be patient
  • Make sure you have a logo, screenshots and some descriptive text ready for the app submission
  • A version of your .app file that has been compiled for Release.
  • Decided how you are going to licence your app. The app store itself allows you to define how the app will be licenced, will it be free, will it be per purchase, per user, will there be a trial etc. Some of these decisions are not simple and require significant forethought and in some cases additional development work. For our app I decided to keep it simple and go for a free version. Microsoft published a couple of great blogs / articles helping with the licencing over at the Office apps blog.
  • Finally, make sure you have tested, tested and tested your app again, the submission process is very thorough and tests the functionality of your app across not only IE but all supported SharePoint 2013 browsers.

Once all of the above is ready, submitting your app is relatively simple. Navigate to the Seller Dashboard and follow the prompts to submit the app.

First choose a listing type, our app is for Project Server, so we need to choose an app for SharePoint, then click on next.

Seller dashboard - Listing type

In the next screen you will be asked some information about your app like the name, version, category to list it under and some other bits and pieces. The most important part are the testing notes, these are your only real way of passing information through to the testers who are looking at your app.

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As we are making the app available to everyone, there is no need to choose Trial support. Click on Next.

The final bits to add before you can submit the app are screenshots and some descriptive text and links to support, EULA and Privacy policies.

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Once you’ve added that text, click on Next and your ready to submit for validation.

From experience, the validation process can take around 3-5 working days. Unfortunately at the moment there is no progress indicator of where you are in the process, with the app either being in a ‘Draft’ or ‘Approved’ state.

Once the app has become approved, it takes a few hours for it to propagate down into the SharePoint app store and to become available for everyone to download and start using.

In conclusion

I hope these posts have shown you that creating an app for Project Server, or for that matter, SharePoint in general is really really simple. Through the various options for hosting apps, either in SharePoint, in Azure, or on your own infrastructure and the investments in APIs such as oData, Rest, JSOM & CSOM, there is an incredibly powerful set of tools available for you to leverage. As we saw, you don’t need expensive tools, with Microsoft making available free tools such as Napa, Visual Studio Express or even NotePad that can be used to build your first app.

Through some of the other investments, such as the corporate catalog and the Office Marketplace, Microsoft look to have provided options for both the hardened enterprise user and casual small business user to gain access to either enterprise specific software, or fully tested  third party software which can be bought with the simplicity of buying an app for your mobile phone. I am certainly looking forward to seeing the richness of some of the apps being offered through the app store.

 

Update: The final app is now available for download in the SharePoint app store http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/store/publish-all-enterprise-projects-WA103982215.aspx?redir=0. If you find it useful, please submit a review.