35,000 Foot View of SharePoint 2013 for Developers

4 minute read
Brian Alderman avatar

Are you ready for SharePoint 2013?

This is the second in a four part series that provides a 35,000-foot overview of some of the major changes expected in SharePoint 2013. With this piece we will dive into what will be new for developers.

The series covers these changes as they relate to administrators, developers, designers and end users. 

What’s New for Developers?

There are lots of changes coming to SharePoint 2013 that developers will need to know about. 

Visual Studio 2012

SharePoint 2013 will include enhanced Visual Studio functionality. These enhancements include new Project/Feature/Package Properties, as well as new deployment options. Visual Studio 2012 also includes New Item Templates designed to work with SharePoint 2013, including SharePoint Applications (SPApps).

SharePoint Applications

SharePoint 2013 introduces a corporate catalog and a public marketplace, which is essentially an app store. Developers can now write applications that extend SharePoint sites using the new SharePoint App Model. In SharePoint 2013, SPApps can be SharePoint hosted using a client web part, Azure-hosted (auto-provisioned or on premises), or developer-hosted using Chrome Control or OAuth.

SharePoint REST (Representational State Transfer)

SharePoint REST is a new service in SharePoint 2013 that allows you to interact with SharePoint artifacts. It provides support for CRUD (create, update, delete) operations from SharePoint Apps, solutions, and client applications using standard OData and REST web technologies.

Business Connectivity Services (BCS)

SharePoint 2013 has made External Content Types (ECT) from external lists accessible via Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services or OData. This helps users more easily consume and interact with external data sources located outside of SharePoint. External List Event Receivers and alerts are also now available in SharePoint 2013 along with filtering, sorting, and support for REST (Representational State Transfer).

Remote Event Receivers

In the past, Event Receivers ran imperative logic on the SharePoint server, but in SharePoint 2013 Remote Event Receivers handle events that occur on a list item, a list or a web in a SPApp. In addition, SPApp Event Receivers handle events involving the app itself, such as when it's installed or deleted. Remote Event Receivers can be created using the Client-Side Object Model (CSOM) and the JavaScript Object Model (JSOM).

Client-Side Object Model (CSOM) and JavaScript Object Model (JSOM)

SharePoint 2013 is all about hosting external application functionality in a SharePoint context. Those external applications (SPApps) will often need to interact with the SharePoint environment. In SharePoint 2013 CSOM has been greatly expanded to include the ability to access the query object model for online, on-premises and mobile development of search along with improvements in other areas. When it comes to JSOM, SharePoint 2013 includes support for JavaScript contexts, cross-domain queries and application programming interfaces (APIs) to access the workflow object model.

Learning Opportunities


SharePoint 2013 will include Windows Azure Workflow (WAW) Services, which is built on Windows Workflow Foundation 4. Don’t worry. The 3.x legacy is still there for backwards compatibility, which isolates logic into a service that is independent of SharePoint. SharePoint 2013 also includes the AppFabric Workflow Model, which provides a lot more flexibility on the scalability of workflows.


SharePoint 2013 features NAPA, which is a browser-based environment that allows developers to build apps for the new cloud environment. It is an online companion to Visual Studio and can be used to create applications before fully migrating to Visual Studio.

Word/Excel/Outlook Agaves

Agaves are replacing Office add-ins in SharePoint 2013 to add increased functionality and customization. Agaves allow developers to create an Office App that hosts external functionality as a Task Pane, Content Agave and Contextual Agave. Agaves are available for Word, Excel and Outlook; however, Outlook requires Exchange 2013. Agaves are like SharePoint apps, but they integrate external content with that functionality within Office APIs in the Task Pane, as well as the content. Each Agave works differently so you will need to check the functionality available for each of them.

Check back next week when we explore what SharePoint 2013 holds in store for Designers.

Editor's Note: To read what SharePoint 2013 has in store for Administrators:

-- 35,000 Foot View of SharePoint 2013 for Administrators

About the author

Brian Alderman

Brian Alderman | CEO & Founder, MicroTechPoint