SharePoint 2013 AppCentricity

Of the many changes to the 2013 version of SharePoint Server, one stands out absolutely. The most radical change SharePoint users will experience is SharePoint 2013’s AppCentricity. SharePoint has changed from a list based paradigm to a platform for supporting Applications. We all know what Applications are – or do we?

In the way of disambiguation, I would first like to deal with the traditional concept of applications. This includes our old favorites like the Microsoft Word Application, the Microsoft PowerPoint Application, etc. These instances of the application concept should be disregarded for the moment.

All of us are subject to App-Quisition (yes, I made that word up). We spend hours surfing the App Store for the perfect utility or game for our smart phones and tablets. Hardware manufacturers have been aware for years that software sells hardware. The device with the most accessories available is top-dog in the marketplace. Enter the SharePoint App Store in the Cloud. Microsoft encourages developers to write additional functionality for SharePoint 2013 and make it available as free or for paid software downloads. For a peek at today’s offerings, click here. More Apps are constantly added to this store to support a growing market for SharePoint 2013 extensibility. This concept of a marketplace for Apps can be extended to the Enterprise. SharePoint 2013 allows for the creation of a local “Company Store” of custom Apps created in-house to support proprietary extensions of SharePoint’s native abilities. With the proper permissions, users can shop the Cloud or the Company Store for the perfect App and safely and securely install it themselves without requiring IT support. Think of it as digital bling.

There is yet another way to understand SharePoint 2013 AppCentricity. This is a result of the redefinition of SharePoint from a List Centric to an Application Centric model. In previous versions of SharePoint, users have become familiar with the concept of Lists. Libraries of documents were represented as lists, as were Folders and indeed List objects themselves. The new and improved way of working with SharePoint 2013 is by creating App Objects (such as Document Library Apps, Custom List Apps) heretofore characterized as lists. Being aware that native SharePoint 2013 artifacts now represent themselves as Apps, you have come full circle in understanding the way SharePoint will work now and in the future.

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