Getting started with app development Blogs: Eli Sheldon is a Program Manager on the Microsoft Project team.

With the new Project, our extensibility story entered two new exciting realms–Apps for Office and Apps for SharePoint. Bookmark this page for all the resources you need to start developing your own apps, tips based on frequently asked questions from our partners, and ideas for developing on either or both of our new models.

Quick start

If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend a lot of time reading articles and SDKs and forum posts–you want to get your hands dirty! The primary resource you’ll want to use for all Office, SharePoint and Project development is the conveniently-named–here you’ll find all of the relevant documentation, tools and support channels you’ll need.

To start writing Apps for Office targeting the Project client, all you technically need is Notepad. You’ll likely want some guidance, and this article is a great place to start–this is part of the wealth of information contained in the Apps for Office and SharePoint SDK.

To start writing Apps for SharePoint targeting Project Web App (PWA), you’ll want a copy of Visual Studio 2012, the Office Developer Tools, and the Project 2013 SDK which contains the necessary redistributable files along with our developer documentation. This article, from the Project 2013 SDK, is a great end-to-end tutorial to help you ramp up quickly.

Project Apps for Office

What exactly is a Project App for Office? At its core, an App for Office is just a webpage running in a container in the rich Office clients that can communicate with the Office client through a powerful new JavaScript API. In Project, these apps are surfaced as a task pane, much like the classic Task Inspector. For examples of apps currently in the app store, see Sensei’s Project DashboardTM or Projility’s ProjectWare ConnectTM.

Information about Project Apps for Office can be found in the Office SDK. The final product you create is an XML file called an app manifest and the webpage hosting your content / code.

Project Apps for SharePoint

What do we mean by a Project App for SharePoint? SharePoint 2013 introduced a new extensibility model to support the SharePoint Online ecosystem, and now that we have Project Online, we followed suit, leveraging much of the same system. An App for SharePoint can take many forms–a web part, a ribbon customization, a full-page custom experience–and a Project App for SharePoint is simply an App for SharePoint that includes PWA functionality. We have many in the app store already, such as Campana and Schott’s Milestone Trend Analysis or Solvin’s TrackTimesheet Go.

Information about Apps for SharePoint can be found in the SharePoint SDK, and info about Project Client Side Object Model (CSOM, the new API used to support our apps) is best found in the Project SDK. The final product you create is an app package containing an app manifest and all of your functional code. There are multiple hosting and deployment options, and apps should work both online and on premises.

Get your app out to the world

Once your app is ready for prime time, you’ll want to publish it to the Office Store. You can sell it for a price you set, or release it for free. You choose the trial conditions and the licensing options. To get started, you’ll want to read this documentation. To see all of the Project apps already delighting our customers, check out the Office Store.

If you don’t want your app to be public, you can easily distribute it through traditional means–but what fun is that?

Frequently asked questions

We get some questions pretty frequently, and while we do our best to update formal documentation accordingly, sometimes it’s best to just bubble things to the top so they don’t trip you up!

Q: How can I deploy my apps from Visual Studio?

A: If you attempt to deploy an app to any random Project Online site, you’ll probably hit an error saying “Sideloading of apps is not enabled on this site.” To prepare a site for app deployment right from Visual Studio (which gives you rich debugging), follow along with this guide from Colin Phillips, which involves using PowerShell to turn on the relevant feature.

Q: How long does it take to publish my app? How can I speed that up?

A: As soon as you know you’re going to publish an app, you should create your Seller Dashboard profile, as this process involves pretty thorough identity and tax verification. Your app does not need to be ready for this to start–so get it out of the way now!

Once you submit your final app package, you can expect (but not count on) validation to take roughly a week, depending on the current submission queue. The most common issues are inconsistent version numbers and other basic metadata. Make sure to read the complete validation rules before submitting!

Q: How can I access information from my Project App for Office not exposed by the JavaScript API?

A: You’ll want to connect to PWA for cross-project info and SharePoint-hosted info. Fortunately, I wrote a blog post detailing exactly how to do this!

Q: I keep having issues related to OAuth tokens!

A: Bing is your best friend here. Many developers have posted across many forums with what to do to resolve pretty much any OAuth issue you hit.

Q: I’m stuck and need Microsoft to help me!

A: Our forums are populated both by Microsoft extensibility experts and a strong community of seasoned developers. Any time you hit a wall, don’t hesitate to post your issue here. Check out these resources too:

Now you have all of the tools and resources you need to create the next killer Project app. I hope to see your work in the store soon!

— Eli Sheldon, Program Manager

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Cloud services you can trust: Office 365 availability Blogs: “Your complete office in the cloud” is how we think of Microsoft Office 365. While it gives us enormous pride that one billion people use Office, we deeply appreciate the responsibility we have to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations every day. We recognize that productivity apps are mission critical; using them is how work gets done. It is imperative for us to ensure our service is trustworthy and reliable while we continue to add new capabilities to Office 365. Our measure for this is service availability.

Office 365 availability

Since launching Office 365 two years ago, we have continued to invest deeply in our infrastructure to ensure a highly available service.  While information has been available in detail for our current customers, today we’re making this information available to all customers considering Office 365.   We measure availability as the number of minutes that the Office 365 service is available in a calendar month as a percentage of the total number of minutes in that month.  We call this measure of availability the uptime number. Within this calculation we include our business, government and education services. The worldwide uptime number for Office 365 for the last four quarters beginning July 2012 and ending June 2013 has been 99.98%, 99.97%, 99.94% and 99.97% respectively.  Going forward we will disclose uptime numbers on a quarterly basis on the Office 365 Trust Center.

Here are a few more details about the uptime number:

  1. The uptime number includes Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Office Web Apps, weighted on the number of people using each of these services. Customers use these services together, so all of these are taken into account while calculating uptime.
  2. This uptime number applies to Office 365 for business, education and government. We do not include consumer services in this calculation.
  3. Office 365 ProPlus is an integral part of our service offering but is not included in this calculation of uptime since it largely runs on the users’ devices.
  4. Individual customers may experience higher or lower uptime percentages compared to the global uptime numbers depending on location and usage patterns.

As a commitment to running a highly available service, we have a Service Level Agreement of 99.9% that is financially backed.

Availability design principles

We have been building enterprise-class solutions for decades. In addition, Microsoft runs a number of cloud services like Office 365, Windows Azure, CRM Online,, SkyDrive, Bing, Skype and Xbox Live to  name a few. We benefit from this diversity of services, leveraging best practices from each service across the others improving both the design of the software as well as operational processes.

Below are some examples of best practices applied in design and operational processes for Office 365.

Redundancy. Redundancy at every layer–physical, data and functional:

  • We build physical redundancy at the disk/card level within servers, the server level within a datacenter and the service level across geographically separate data centers to protect against failures. Each data center has facilities and power redundancy. We have multiple datacenters serving every region.
  • To build redundancy at the data level, we constantly replicate data across geographically separate datacenters. Our design goal is to maintain multiple copies of data whether in transit or at rest and failover capabilities to enable rapid recovery.
  • In addition to the physical and data redundancy, as one of our core strengths we build Office clients to provide functional redundancy to enable you to be productive using offline functionality when there is no network connectivity.

Resiliency. Active load balancing and constant recovery testing across failure domains:

  • We actively balance load to provide end users the best possible experiences in an automated manner. These mechanisms also dynamically prioritize, performing low priority tasks during low activity periods and deferring them during high load.
  • We have both automated and manual failover to healthy resources during hardware or software failures and monitoring alerts.
  • We routinely perform recovery across failure domains to ensure readiness for circumstances require failovers.

Distributed Services. Functionally distributed component services:

  • The component services in Office 365 like Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Office Web Apps are functionally distributed, ensuring that the scope and impact of failure in one area is limited to that area alone and not impact others.
  • We replicate directory data across these component services so that if one service is experiencing an issue, users are able to login and use other services seamlessly.
  • Our operations and deployment teams benefit from the distributed nature of our service, simplifying all aspects of maintenance and deployment, diagnostics, repair and recovery.

Monitoring. Extensive monitoring, recovery and diagnostic tools:

  • Our internal monitoring systems continuously monitor the service for any failure and are built to drive automated recovery of the service.
  • Our systems analyze any deviations in service behavior to alert on-call engineers to take proactive measures.
  • We also have Outside-In monitoring constantly executing from multiple locations around the world both from trusted third party services (for independent SLA verification) and our own worldwide datacenters to raise alerts.
  • For diagnostics, we have extensive logging, auditing, and tracing. Granular tracing and monitoring helps us isolate issues to root cause.

Simplification. Reduced complexity drives predictability:

  • We use standardized components wherever possible. This leads to fewer deployment and issue isolation complexities as well as predictable failures and recovery.
  • We use standardized process wherever possible. The focus is not only on automation but making sure that critical processes are repeated and repeatable.
  • We have architected the software components to be loosely coupled so that their deployment and ongoing health don’t require complex orchestration.
  • Our change management goes through progressive, staged, instrumented rings of scope and validation before being deployed worldwide.

Human back-up. 24/7 on-call support:

  • While we have automated recovery actions where possible, we also have a team of on-call professionals standing by 24×7 to support you. This team includes support engineers, product developers, program managers, product managers and senior leadership.
  • With an entire team on call, we have the ability to provide rapid response and information collection towards problem resolution.
  • Our on-call professionals while providing back-up, also improve the automated systems every time they are called to help.

Continuous learning

We understand that there will be times when you may experience service interruptions. We do a thorough post-incident review every time an incident occurs regardless of the magnitude of impact. A post-incident review consists of an analysis of what happened, how we responded and how we prevent similar incidents in the future. In the interest of transparency and accountability, we share post-incident review for any major service incidents if your organization was affected. As a large enterprise, we also “eat our own dogfood,” i.e., use our own pre-production service to conduct day-to-day business here at Microsoft. Continuous improvement is a key component to provide a highly available, world-class service.

Consistent communication

Transparency requires consistent communication, especially when you are using online productivity services to conduct your business. We have a number of communication channels such as email, RSS feeds and the Service Health Dashboard. As an Office 365 customer, you get a detailed view into the availability of services that are relevant to your organization. The Office 365 Service Health Dashboard is your window into the current status of your services and your licenses. We continue to drive improvements into the Service Health Dashboard including tracking timeliness of updates to ensure so that you have full insight into your services health.

We also have some exciting new tools to improve your ability to stay up to date with the service.  Last week we released a new feature in the administration portal called “Message Center.” Message Center is a central hub for service communications, tenant reporting and actions required by administrators.  Also, by the end of this year, administrators can expect a new mobile app that will provide service health information as well as other communications regarding their service.

Running a comprehensive and evolving service at ever increasing scale is a challenge and there will be service interruptions despite our efforts. We want to assure you that we are continually learning and are relentless in our commitment to provide you with a reliable highly available service that meets your expectations.  Service continuity is more than an engineering principle it is a commitment to customers in our SLA and as one of the key pillars of Office 365 Trust Center (the other four pillars being Privacy, Security, Compliance and Transparency). This public disclosure of Office 365 uptime is evidence of our ongoing commitment to both Service Continuity and Transparency.

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Microsoft releases Office 2016 Blogs: REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 22, 2015 — On Tuesday, Microsoft Corp. began the worldwide release of Office 2016. The apps are the latest addition to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based subscription service that helps people do their best work, together. The company also announced new and enhanced Office 365 services built for team productivity.

“The way people work has changed dramatically, and that’s why Microsoft is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes for the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork.”

Nadella wrote about the new Office on the Official Microsoft Blog. Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office Client Applications and Services team, provided more insights about Office 2016 on the Office Blog.

Office 2016 delivers new versions of the Office desktop apps for Windows, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Project, Visio and Access. By subscribing to Office 365, customers can get always-up-to-date, fully installed apps for use across their devices, combined with a continually evolving set of consumer and commercial services, such as OneDrive online storage, Skype for Business, Delve, Yammer and enterprise-grade security features.

Together, the new Office and Windows 10 are the most complete solution for doing. The Office 2016 apps run beautifully on the best Windows ever, including the new Sway for Windows 10 to create shareable, interactive stories that look great on any screen. Windows Hello logs you into Windows and Office 365 in one simple step.1 Office Mobile apps on Windows 10 empower on-the-go productivity, and work with Continuum2 so you can use your phone like a PC. Cortana3 connects with Office 365 to help with tasks such as meeting preparation, with Outlook integration coming in November.

Built for teamwork

The Office 2016 apps simplify collaboration and remove barriers to team success.

  • Co-authoring4 is now provided in Word, PowerPoint and OneNote desktop software, including real-time typing in Word that lets you see others’ edits as they make them.
  • Skype in-app integration across the rich client apps allows you to IM, screen share, talk or video chat right in your docs.
  • Office 365 Groups are now an integrated part of the Outlook 2016 client app and available on your favorite mobile device through the Outlook Groups app, delivering a consistent team experience across the suite.

In addition, new Office 365 solutions that combine the power of apps and services for better collaboration are coming soon.

  • Introduced today, Office 365 Planner helps teams organize their work, with the ability to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, set due dates, and update status with visual dashboards and email notifications. Planner will be available in preview to Office 365 First Release customers starting next quarter.
  • Significant new updates to OneDrive for Business are coming later this month, including a new sync client for Windows and Mac, which will deliver selective sync and enhanced reliability. Updates also include increased file size and volume limits per user, a new user interface in the browser, mobile enhancements, and new IT and developer features.
  • Unveiled earlier this year, GigJam is available Tuesday in private preview and will become part of Office 365 in 2016. GigJam is an unprecedented new way for teams to accomplish tasks and transform business processes by breaking down the barriers between devices, apps and people.

Works for you

Office 2016 provides built-in intelligence to help you work faster and smarter.

  • Outlook 2016 provides the smartest inbox yet, with lightning-fast search and automatic removal of low-priority mail. Everyone on the To: line has the right access to documents with modern, cloud-based attachments.
  • Tell Me helps you quickly find the right Office feature or command, and Smart Lookup brings insights from the Web right into your documents.
  • Excel 2016 now includes integrated publishing to Power BI and new modern chart types to help you make the most of your data.
  • The most recently used documents list allows you to pick up right where you left off, traveling with you across your devices, whether you are working in Office Online, in the Office Mobile apps or in the Office 2016 desktop apps.

The most secured Office

Office 2016 apps with Office 365 deliver new capabilities for better enterprise security and protection.

  • Built-in Data Loss Prevention across Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook significantly reduces the risk of leaking sensitive data, giving IT administrators tools to manage content authoring and document sharing policies.
  • Multifactor authentication ensures secured access to content anywhere when you’re away from the corporate network.
  • Enterprise Data Protection will be available for the Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 later this year and for the desktop apps early next year, enabling secured content sharing within corporate boundaries.

Availability and requirements

The new Office 2016 apps are available in 40 languages and require Windows 7 or later. Starting Tuesday, Office 365 subscribers can choose to download the new Office 2016 apps as part of their subscription. Automatic updates will begin rolling out to consumer and small-business subscribers next month, and to commercial customers early next year. Office 2016 is also available today as a one-time purchase for both PCs and Macs.

Customers can visit one of the more than 110 Microsoft Stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico to discover and purchase the new Office. While there, they can participate in a free, one-hour Office 2016 workshop and visit the in-store Answer Desk, a one-stop shop for your Office needs.

More information is available at

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

1 Windows Hello requires specialized hardware, including fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensors, and may require additional authentication steps in certain configurations.

2 Available only on premium Windows Phones. External monitor must support HDMI input. Requires a Continuum-compatible accessory.

3 Cortana experience may vary by region and device.

4 Co-authors must be using Office 2016 or Office Online.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at


Original Post:

What are the differences between office 2010 and 2016? Blogs: The best comparison I’ve seen if by an Internet Hosting and infrastructure provider called Sherweb that provides a side-by-side review of updates:

The Interface changes more noticeably from Office 2010 to 2013 then to 2016. And the BIG change in Office 2016 is it’s integration with online and teamwork features. On upgrading to 2016 we immediately exploited Outlook’s now integrated ‘Clutter’ feature and began to make use of the integration of ‘Groups’ that was absent before.

In Office 2013 and now 2016 the availability of the ‘Recent Items’ list is a small feature that we find ourselves using all the time, particularly to attach a file to an Outlook message.

PS We routinely try to make the move from one Office version to another a bit easier by installing the ‘old reliable’ Office 2003 menus from a company called UBit.

This small, fast, and light add-in makes a new [Menu] tab available in all the later office versions that lets folks be productive while learning what’s new at their own

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Elizabeth Nofs

What Are the Differences between Microsoft Office 2010 and Office 2016?
The posts, below, have many bits and links that outline the new options that were added to each version of Microsoft Office. I appreciate the information and the useful resources. It is interesting to note that each author has some feature in MS Office that caught their attention.

What Changed for Me
The big difference was the switch from desktop computers to devices: Phones, Tablets and iPads. Almost 60% of all computing is now done on a hand-held device, not a desktop PC. Microsoft bought Nokia, the phone company, and all of the Touch Screen patents that Nokia owned.

Bigger Ribbons
The Ribbons definitely changed from Microsoft Office 2007 to 2013. The Ribbon is almost twice as big, so that I can click with my fingers, instead of my mouse.

Word 2007 Home Ribbon

Word 2013 Home Ribbon

New Quick Clicks
The Quick Clicks provide rich options right next to whatever I am editing-Picture, Chart, Text-without having to scroll up to the top of a very little screen.

Excel 2013 Chart Style

Excel 2016 Quick Analysis

If you look at the bottom of Microsoft Excel, you can see the plus (+) sign by the Tabs. Doesn’t that remind you of the (+) that you use on your SmartPhone to add a new Contact? Hello, New Tab

Consume or Create?
In class I make a distinction between consuming information:
I read it on my SmartPhone.

…And creating knowledge:
I analyze the data and publish the findings professionally.

The Computer Mama’s Work Stations

My Humble Opinion
I believe that Microsoft is seeking the right pathway with their flagship product Microsoft Office. The options in Office 2016 are integrated with the business version of Microsoft Office 365. Being part of a server, especially an Exchange server, puts a lot of business savvy into the hands of a small business. These tools were very expensive to deploy and maintain in my own office: hardware, setup, support.

I am looking forward to the next steps.

Good question. Thanks for asking.

Elizabeth Nofs, the Computer Mama

Original post:

Microsoft Teams: 7 things you need to know Blogs: The new Office 365 component for collaborative communication is Microsoft‘s long-promised answer to Slack.

Microsoft unveiled its long-rumored collaboration tool Wednesday at an event in New York. Dubbed Microsoft Teams, it’s a forthcoming Office 365 component that adds a group chat tool to the company’s megaprofitable office suite.

Teams is squarely aimed as a competitor to Slack, the upstart web-based software that has challenged email’s dominance in the many small groups and large corporations that have adopted it over the past few years.

After the unveiling of Teams at the event, anchored by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, I received a guided tour of the software. Here’s what we know so far.

It’s a lot like Slack

When viewing demos or screenshots of Microsoft Teams, you could be forgiven for confusing it with a new version of Slack. The user interfaces look extremely similar, and it uses the same general “channels” and individual/small group chat design language.

At first glance, Microsoft is hardly reinventing the wheel here. Instead, it’s utilizing a lot of its existing strengths in Office (online applications), Azure (cloud-based file management), Skype (online communication), Exchange servers (data management) and security, all of which are pulled together in a new group chat application.

Teams also incorporates plenty of other familiar Slack features, including in-line animated GIFs and assistant bots, including one (“WhoBot”) that’s designed to find individuals in your organization based on their specialties or assignments.

It supports threaded conversation

teams-thread.jpg -
“Showcase artists” thread within the “Art and Media Festival” channel

John Falcone/CNET

A common complaint among Slack users is the app’s dearth of email-style threaded conversations. In other words, any discussion within a channel is completely jumbled with another. (Slack has said it’s been testing threaded conversations since at least April, but the feature has yet to appear.) By contrast, Teams will support threaded conversations on day one.

It’s a free add-on for Office 365 enterprise subscribers

Teams isn’t exactly free, but if your organization is already an Office 365 subscriber it won’t cost anything additional. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’ll just pop up on your desktop the day it launches. Like any Office component, it’ll be up to your company’s IT department whether or not to deploy it to users in the organization.

… but it’s not available to non-business Office subscribers

Did you purchase a “one and done” Microsoft Office software download? Are you an individual or family subscriber to Office 365? Sorry, no Teams for you. The new software is strictly aimed at the enterprise/business market.

That’s a big departure from Slack, which is essentially a freemium web-based tool that’s available to any ad hoc group who chooses to sign up for it. (Customers can then convert to a paid Slack subscription, which offers more features and options.) So if you’re a family or other small group, don’t expect to use or try Microsoft Teams.

Teams works on all major platforms

Microsoft has, or will have, apps for Windows 10, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone and even browser-based web clients. Assuming the web client is robust and works on Chromebooks, that should cover all but a few outliers.

teams-iphone.jpg -
The Teams app running on an iPhone

John Falcone/CNET

Teams supports third-party plug-ins

ZenDesk (customer service software) and Asana (a popular project management tool) have already said they’ll be working to integrate their services with Teams.

Teams will be officially available Q1 2017 — but you can try it now

Microsoft is targeting the official launch of Teams by the end of March 2017. But a preview of Teams is available now — again, though, only to enterprise customers. At the bottom of this Microsoft page, the company notes that “IT admins can turn on Microsoft Teams as part of your Office 365 plan,” and offers an instructional video.

On the same page, Microsoft also highlights a free Office 365 Business Premium trial offer, which would allow participants to use the Teams beta as well.

Microsoft Teams’ tricks should make Slack nervous (CNET Update report)

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