Introduction - Pro Office 365 Development, Second Edition (2014)

Pro Office 365 Development, Second Edition (2014)


Office 365 brings together a fully integrated suite of office automation tools including the key server components – SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync. Volumes have been written on each of these products. In addition, there is an impressive list of client applications that can be leveraged including:

· Access

· Excel

· Visio

· SharePoint Designer

· Visual Studio

There is so much that you can do with this platform that it’s not possible to cover every aspect in a single book. However, we have tried to pack in as much as possible and demonstrate the features that will be most useful. The topics cover a wide range of subjects, including web databases, declarative workflows, custom Lync and Exchange applications, and public-facing web sites.

How This Book Is Structured

Each chapter presents a solution that leverages one or more features of the Office 365 platform using one of the various development tools that are available to you. These were carefully chosen to demonstrate a good cross-section of the platform capabilities as well as presenting a broad overview of the toolset.

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the Office 365 platform, explaining the various server and client components. In Chapter 2 you’ll use the site designer to create a public-facing web site.

Chapters 3, 6, and 7, use Visual Studio 2013 to build custom applications. In Chapter 3 you’ll create a SharePoint app using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Chapters 6 and 7 each create a WPF app that show you how to build custom Exchange and Lync applications, respectively.

Chapter 4 takes you through the process of creating a workflow application using Visio and SharePoint Designer. This also demonstrates some of the key SharePoint concepts such as content types. In Chapter 5, you’ll use Access 2013 to create a web-enabled database application.

In the final three chapters, we’ll explain how to use the new REST APIs to integrate the data in your Office 365 site with a wide-range of client applications. This API provides a uniform developer experience when accessing cloud-based SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync servers.

Each chapter invites you to work through the exercise yourself with step-by-step instructions. You can simply read the chapter and learn a great deal. But following along yourself will be even more beneficial. During this process we’ll explain some of the hows and whys.


To work through the exercises in this book you will need an Office 365 account. A few of the solutions will require one of the Enterprise plans but most can be implemented on any plan. Some of the chapters will require additional Office products such as Access or Excel. These are included with some of the Office 365 plans and can be added to others for a monthly fee.

Image Tip You can get a free 30-day trial subscription for either the Small Business or Enterprise plan. If you need more time you can generally get a 30-day extension. Also, the Small Business plan is a monthly subscription and you can cancel it at any time.

You will also need Visual Studio 2013 to work through the coded solutions. Some of the exercises require other free products and these will be explained in the appropriate chapters.