Category Archives: InstantQuick

How to Install and Uninstall Apps from the SharePoint Store on Office 365

The other day I was giving a friend of mine who has an existing Office 365 subscription a tour of Instant Consulting Practice. I was a bit surprised that he had never installed an app nor did he know how or what it would do to his site.

Adding an App

There are two ways to add an app. Select Add an app from the gear dropdown or navigate to the Site Contents page and click the add an app icon.

Method 1 – from the gear dropdown

Method 2 – from the Site Contents page

In either case you will see a list of all the various built-in apps available on your SharePoint site. To see the apps available on the marketplace click the SharePoint Store link located on the left side of your screen.

There are many apps in the store organized by category. Select the category from the list on the left and then select the app – in this case Instant Consulting Practice.

Don’t be scared!

Clicking an app doesn’t add it to your site; it takes you to a page where you can learn more about the app before you commit to the installation. Once you feel comfortable, and you are ready, click ADD IT.

 

You still have a chance to change your mind. Every app contains a policy that tells you what permissions you are giving the app in your site. Instant Consulting Practice and Instant Legal Practice both use the minimum available permissions. To begin the actual installation of the app click Trust It.

The Site Contents page loads and shows that your app is installing. You can still cancel the install if you change your mind!

Once the app package is installed on your site the icon will become solid and you can click it to launch the app.

Some apps need to do additional setup before you can use the app. The Instant Practice Manager products do additional work when the app is launched for the first time and occasionally to deploy updates and fixes.

Once the app is ready the home page displays and you can use the app.

What if I don’t like the app I just installed?

Installing an app from the store is safe because it doesn’t change the site where you install it. Instead, it gets its own site. To get rid of the app, click the link in the upper-left corner of the page to return to your site and then navigate to the Site Contents page.

Next, hover over the app icon, and click the ellipses to display the hover card, click its ellipses, and click Remove.

Warning!

Removing the app will remove everything you put in the app including any documents you uploaded! You will receive a warning and there is no going back.

Conclusion

If you are into SharePoint you may have read articles or blog posts about the app model. For better or worse most of the restrictions Microsoft has in place in the store are there so that you can feel comfortable installing an app and know that it won’t mess up your site. If you’d like to give it a try, why not go install Instant Consulting Practice or Instant Legal Practice for free?

Host Web versus App Web Case Study – Clients

App Web versus Host Web in Office 365 Apps

Chris O’Brien and I have had a running conversation about the merits of using the host web versus the app web as the container for app functionality. If you’d like to catch up on the conversation, it has gone thusly so far:

In Chris’s last post he softened his position a bit. This post is an actual example that compares the client management features in the free trial versions of Instant Practice Manager (the ones in the marketplace) which use app webs to the standard versions which use host webs (which we sell directly because they use a higher level of permissions than the marketplace allows).

Office Integration

On the surface the two versions are hard to tell apart, but in a ghetto web app web there are no rich client integration features like Outlook and document library synchronization and this difference has a profound effect on the user experience.

Clients view in app web

 

Clients view in host web

When Outlook is available you can connect the list to Outlook and create or edit clients in Outlook as well as perform mail merges.

Not to mention features for individual contacts.

You get similar benefits with the calendar and task features.

Document Synchronization

Document synchronization is another major advantage of a host web compared to an app web. The screen shots below show the Documents tab in the app web version and in the host web version.

App Web

Host Web

 

A synchronized document library is a huge time saver, especially if you have folder structures you always want to copy or many documents that you need to file.

Working with the client’s documents in Windows Explorer

Synchronized with the client in SharePoint

This synchronization capability is something that can be leveraged in so many cases. It works particularly well when combined with a document scanner like the Fujitsu ScanSnap.

There are many more advantages to using a host web (and upgrading to the standard edition of Instant Practice Manager) that I won’t go into here, but hopefully this will convince Chris that choosing an app web over a host web is not something you should do automatically. The choice will make a big difference to your users!

Technical Notes

There is only one code base. All provisioning is done via CSOM in processes hosted in a Windows Azure worker role. The architecture is fairly complex, but the code itself is relatively simple. The key is that using features in an app package is to be avoided because they only support app web deployments.

I will be announcing public training classes soon and as always, we’d love to hear from you if you need consulting help or would like to license the framework. If you are interested in either please send us an email at info@instantquick.com.

Author: Doug Ware

New Products, New Site and New Name

Introducing InstantQuick

Almost two years ago I began working on a legal practice management system for Office 365 based on the sandbox architecture. I was almost done with that solution when I found out about the new app model.

After much soul searching I decided not to release the original but instead to attempt a rewrite. My reasoning was simple, if I released I’d have to spend time in the future rewriting anyway and I’d still have to rebuild as an app. This required a leap of faith on my part because I wasn’t very happy with the limitations of the sandbox but I was also pretty skeptical about the new model. I liked the architectural direction and it was in line with what I had done in my first version, but I had doubts about the API’s and the execution. I wrote several articles about my thoughts that are in this site’s archive but I eventually became very happy with what I was able to accomplish as an app.

Over the same period of time I read (and sometimes debated) other articles on the blogosphere about apps. Most were about the merits of the model and how to go about building them. Eventually I stopped because I didn’t have time and also because the whole concept is pretty squishy and tough to discuss in the abstract. Instead I thought, ‘In a few weeks I’ll launch and then people will see what I’m talking about!’

I’ve been saying that for many months now.

I’m happy to say that the trial versions of the apps are now in the Office 365 marketplace approval process and that the full versions will be available in the next couple of weeks.
The apps are: Instant Legal Practice and Instant Consulting Practice.

The apps are designed for small practices and they make it easy to track clients, matters and projects, meetings and tasks. Best of all they include powerful time tracking and billing features including automatic invoice generation. Going forward there will content both about how they work under the covers and how to get the most out of the features. That is why this site is divided into two sections.

Before I close this post let me say that my technical and usability goals for these apps are audacious. I want to set the bar for what a SharePoint app can be and I am very happy with the result. Barring any unforeseen circumstances they’ll be available sometime this week. I hope you’ll check them out.

Thanks,

–Doug

P.S. I’d like to thank my wife and children for putting up with my insane schedule and my friend, and fellow SharePoint MVP, Dan Attis for letting me use his house as a place of solitude.