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Top 25 Office 365 Influencers

Continuing our “Top Office 365 Influencers Speak Out” series, we present our next interview with Tobias Zimmergren, Product Owner at Rencore GmbH and the number 13 ranked influencer from the 2015 Top 25 EU Office 365 Influencers.

In this interview, Tobias got a bit more technical as he discussed the development side of SharePoint and Office 365 including strategies, frameworks, the app model and the best places to find guidance.

The full video can be viewed below.

Tobias Zimmergren



What’s a good development strategy for Office 365 and SharePoint?

“There’s been a huge shift in how you develop from how you used to develop. Back in the day, in SharePoint 2007, 2010 and even 2013, you would do development for farm solutions of your on-premise environment and it’s not decoupled from SharePoint, it’s actually inside of SharePoint. The shift we are seeing and have been seeing for the last couple of years is that we’re actually moving away from building stuff inside of SharePoint. We’re building our own services or our own applications and then we just use the APIs to connect to SharePoint. From a developer point of view, this is what I’ve been missing for a long time, because now we can use normal web development techniques and connect to SharePoint and make that part of our SharePoint environment in Office 365 or on-premise but we can still have it fully decoupled. That means if I make a bad solution, or a mistake in my code or there’s a service interruption, that only affects my own application, that doesn’t affect SharePoint.”

We are seeing partners offering more apps for SharePoint. Seeing more and more solutions coming up, is the app model and app store the way to go for developers?

“It’s a good question but I think there’s no clear answer to that before we have numbers of how many customers are actually using apps in Office 365 and SharePoint. The way we do it and the way Microsoft is recently doing it with the Office 365 Patterns and Practices and the recommendations they release, is that you build separate solutions and you don’t have to deploy them as apps inside of your SharePoint. You can actually keep them outside of the store and then just give the users or customers a way to login to your app. You don’t actually have to use the app model, you can just build a web application and use REST APIs to connect back and forth between your own application and SharePoint.”

When you start a new project today are you thinking cloud first, mobile first?

“Yeah, this is the vision from Microsoft. The way I develop my stuff is that we want to make it available. We want to make it available for everyone using the app whether your using mobile or an on-premise environment. But when you start a new project, you start a project by doing web development. Back in the day you started a new SharePoint project. But you don’t have to do that anymore.”

Do you have some recommendations for where people can find guidance for development?

“My single source of guidance is an open source project which Microsoft is promoting. It’s the Office 365 Patterns and Practices – they call it the P&P. You can find that on Github. There’s a lot of documentation and guidance on how you can actually use SharePoint and get started.”

Catch the full interview here:


David Lavenda
Chief Product Officer