With the popularity of SharePoint never really in question, the marketplaces for solutions and web parts is a natural occurrence. Here's one of the latest.
In Need of SharePoint Functionality
If you are on the look out for web parts, themes or applications that work within SharePoint, there are a few places you could look. These include going to third party SharePoint app providers directly (and there are any number to find) or heading to a SharePoint marketplace (of which Microsoft has opened its own).
Sharevolution is a newer marketplace that crossed our desk recently, one worth taking a closer look at if not for what's available on it, then for the way you can get its offerings into your environment.
Sharevolution: Sharing Made Easy
Sharevolution is a SharePoint Marketplace that launched in beta in January of this year and it offers a unique approach to getting new functionality into your hosted SharePoint environment. To date it has 25 solutions, 1 web part and 1 site theme available. With approximately 339 downloads to date, it's starting out fairly well.
You browse the marketplace by a number of different categories including collaboration, search, business process, tools and utilities and more. Or you can see what's available for themes, web parts and solutions. You can also check out the latest additions or the most popular selections. Pretty standard stuff for any marketplace.
Anything that can be installed in a SharePoint environment that doesn't require touching the SharePoint server is offered in this marketplace. It's been built with the cloud in mind. According to Daniel McPherson, Sharevolution has been designed to be like the Apple AppStore, with the idea that cloud services are going to be huge and SharePoint in the cloud is part of that.
Easy Installs Are Important
One of the most interesting elements of Sharevolution is how you can add new solutions, web parts and themes to your SharePoint site. You can do the typical download and install, or you can do what's called a Direct Install. After logging into the marketplace (via your Google or Facebook id), you can select a "direct install".
Sharevolution - Solution selected
Direct Install is a single click option, once you register your SharePoint site. You simply supply your SharePoint URL, username and password and there you go, install happens immediately. There is a note that this option has only been tested with BPOS, but I expect that others sites have been tried.
Sharevolution - Direct Install
Not all apps available in the store are free. This is the decision of the developer who places their solution in the marketplace. It's hard to tell right now if there is anything in the marketplace that isn't free without going through all the solutions.
A Marketplace for SharePoint Online
As we said earlier, there is no shortage of demand for SharePoint solutions, web parts, themes, etc.. And there are a lot of places you can find and download these. But the direct install option available with Sharevolution is pretty slick. If hosted SharePoint sites support this method of install, it should become a very popular marketplace. The fact that BPOS is supported is a good sign for businesses wanting to get new functionality into their environments quickly.
Whether or not it will survive against Microsoft's own marketplace is a big question. There's room for more than one, but when you have a Microsoft supported one, do you need another?