Just like you can download apps to your phone, you can also download apps to your SharePoint site. SharePoint add-ins (formerly known as SharePoint apps) are self-contained applications that extend the built-in capabilities of SharePoint. These stand-alone apps exist to solve a specific business need, such as task management or contract management. Add-ins can show up in your SharePoint site as an immersive full-page experience, as part of an existing page, or as part of the UI (menu items or ribbon buttons).
Add-ins don’t run any custom code on SharePoint servers, which helps you avoid any negative impact on server security or performance. Instead, all of the custom code runs on either the cloud, client computers, or an on-premises server that is external to your SharePoint farm.
You can download add-ins from the Microsoft Online store, or you can have an add-in custom made for your organization. When developing a custom add-in, there are two different add-in models to choose from: SharePoint-hosted or provider-hosted.
Provider-hosted add-ins tend to be much more powerful than SharePoint-hosted add-ins. Both models of add-ins can leverage standard SharePoint functionality. But since provider-hosted add-ins are not limited to client-side processing, they can leverage resources unavailable to SharePoint-hosted add-ins. Provider-hosted add-ins allow for much more flexibility, and are a more scalable solution for companies. Their benefits include the following 4 points:
In essence, provider-hosted SharePoint add-ins allow for all the flexibility of custom business applications, while also leveraging SharePoint’s built-in functionality. You can harness SharePoint’s powerful features, like document management and versioning, without facing limitations imposed by SharePoint Designer.
Whether you choose to go with a SharePoint-hosted add-in, provider-hosted add-in, or a custom application built on another platform will ultimately depend on your unique needs. Our experienced SharePoint consultants can help advise you on the right path for your organization. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs and receive on-the-spot recommendations from an expert.