Apps for Office – a brief introduction

Apps for Office is new extensibility model for supported Office 2013 Client applications. With this web developers can also build solutions for extending Office client applications using HTML, CSS, JavaScript and REST.

Basically, and App for Office is a web page that can be hosted in a Office client application to provided extended content (in Word), hosted in a task pane that is associated with the client application (Excel), or activated contextually in an email message (in Outlook).

Development:

Apps for Office can be implemented using the new JavaScript based API (Office.js) which provides consistent programmatic access to Documents, Workbooks and Mail Items and Office client applications through common as well as app specific data types, objects, functions and events. Using this API, the developers can read and write in supported office documents and handle key application and user events like selection change.

Deployment:

We have 4 options for deploying Office Apps based on the requirement.

  1. Office Store
  2. App Catalog
  3. File Share Catalog
  4. Exchange Server (for Outlook)

1. Office Store: Office 2013 provides the ability for users to discover solutions directly from a public marketplace hosted on Office.com. The Office Store provides a convenient location for you to upload new app solutions aimed both at consumers and businesses. As a developer, when you upload your app to the public marketplace, Microsoft runs some validation checks on it.
2. App Catalog: For task pane and content apps, IT departments can deploy and configure private app catalogs to provide the same Office-solution catalog experience that the Office Store provides. This new catalog and development platform lets IT use a streamlined method to provision Office apps and SharePoint apps to managed users from a central location without the need to deploy solutions to each client.
3. File Share Catalog: Alternatively, in a corporate setting, IT can deploy task pane and content apps created either by internal or external developers to a central file share, where the manifest files will be stored and managed. In either case, when apps are subsequently updated by their developers, there is no need to push updates to end-users or for IT to redeploy them to corporate users.
4. Exchange Server: Mail apps for Outlook can be installed by an administrator to an Exchange catalog that is available to users of the Exchange Server on which it resides. It enables publishing and management of corporate mail app solutions, including internally created ones as well as solutions that are acquired from the Office Store and licensed for corporate use. Apps for Outlook are installed into an Exchange catalog by a server administrator by using either the Exchange Unified Management Console (UMC), or by running remote Windows PowerShell cmdlets.

Architecture of an Office App

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