Ty Anderson

Office Newswire: Are Apps for Office & SharePoint worthy of your time?

Comments are the spice of a blogger’s life. I’ve recently started reading the online version of my hometown newspaper. I started because my alma mater lost its football coach. He’s not lost, he took another job. And now the search is on for a new coach. This is high drama in West Texas. With all the drama, you’d think my alma mater was good at football. We are not. We are mediocre with a few standout seasons.

I bring this up because while reading the hometown news (here and here) , I have been greatly humored by the comments. I could care less about the articles. I love hearing what the "home-towners" have to say. They don’t hold anything back. They have opinions… emotions… and a lack of manners. It’s great stuff.

All I’m saying is, I’d like to see some comments. I want to know what you are thinking, experiencing, feeling. Actually, I’m lying about wanting to know what you are feeling.

Most of the time this is a one-way conversation and that is to your detriment. I’m much more fun when I have something to rift off of. So today, I have a question to get us started talking to each other:

Are the Apps for Office & SharePoint worthy of your time, talent, & resources?

What do you think? Are you building apps for the Office app store? Do you think Apps for Office is a viable platform?

Bring it.

Office news & editorials!

  • Building apps for PowerPoint! :: I 'm glad to see the Office Extensibility Team isn’t sitting around. If this is a sign of things to come, we can expect more apps and more API features without the requisite 3 year wait.
  • When should I choose to create a mail app versus an add-in for Outlook? :: This is substantive & thoughtful post. The mail apps are a new API and are not meant to replace COM add-ins (VSTO is COM-based too). This post defines the boundaries of each.
  • Windows 8 can’t afford to fail like Vista :: From the "Microsoft is Doomed" department. Windows 8 won’t fail. The trouble for Windows 8 is twofold: 1) Windows 7 is great and there is no compelling reason to upgrade if you run anything besides a tablet. 2) If you have a tablet it probably runs iOS or Android.
  • Google Apps is no longer free :: Google made a smart move here. The people using the free version of Google Apps are not going to pay for Office 365 either. So, might as well start charging for it across the board.
  • Microsoft should be worried about Google’s recent move :: Microsoft is surrounded! They are doomed! Doomed I say! As this guy opines, because Google now charges a fee for Google Apps… Microsoft should be worried?
  • Microsoft pushes ‘Cloud-First’ approach with SharePoint 2013 :: MSFT didn’t build a bunch of data centers just to see them sit there while everyone installs on-premises software (not on-premise. Premise != Premises. Words mean things people!) .

Office tips, tricks & tools

Office developer items of note

Cutting room floor


  • kieran31 says:

    Hi Ty,

    I am reading all your newswires, thank you for them, please do keep bringing them up! If you want my opinion, it is too early to invest in building Office apps. The apps are toddlers yet and all they can do now is play in a sandbox. We need to wait for Microsoft to give us more features and capabilities and then we will possibly be able to develop something worthy.
    As for Apps for SharePoint, don’t know, I have not toyed with them yet.

  • Ty Anderson says:

    Thanks Kieran

    I have no choice but to agree. The API’s limitations frustrate me. I wish we could do more…access more objects…etc. For now it seems we can only build apps that enhance the users experience but does not automate it. We can’t change focus, we can’t create items (new tasks, new worksheets, etc). We can only work with the current selection, etc.

    As MSFT says, “the user is in control”.

  • Eric Legault says:

    Another fantastic article Ty!!! It’s tough to say whether Apps for Office will take off. I see devs focusing on external content solutions to tie remote data into Outlook somehow (like the sample Bing maps and YouTube apps). However, productivity apps are almost a no-go because of the restriction on item types (no Contact or Task Mail Apps). The biggest problem is being unable to access compose e-mails – that rules out a lot of the current add-in solutions out there from being ported to Mail Apps. Same with any kind of store processing – item context activation simply prevents this from ever being done properly if at all. Devs are going to have to be creative to find innovative solutions – I know I have some pretty good ideas though! :-)

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