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Nitovate App Model

Nitovate is based on and leverages the SharePoint 2013 App Model, which was introduced in 2013 and was largely responsible for the popularity and success of SharePoint 2013 since it got rid of the main issue with SharePoint 2010.

What was the main issue with SharePoint 2010?

SharePoint 2010 allowed users to modify or customize the default behaviour of SharePoint. This was done by writing Windows Solution Packages (or WSPs in short) which used SharePoint’s Server Side Object Model (SSOM) to do server-side programming and were deployed in the SharePoint farm in ”full trust” mode as a Farm Solution.

When WSPs were written properly, they could do a lot of useful and cool things. But when written badly, they caused problems not only to themselves but also to all the other WSPs running in the farm and sharing the available resources. In the worst case, WSPs could destabilize the farm or totally crash it.

To overcome this problem, Microsoft came up with “Sandboxed Solutions” which were nothing but WSPs that were deployed at the site collection level instead of the farm level. But they had their own limitations and very few people ended up using it. Sandbox Solutions are deprecated in SharePoint online. In other words, Sandbox Solutions with code are not supported in SharePoint online anymore.

What is the SharePoint 2013 App model? What does it mandate?

The SharePoint 2013 App Model mandates that SharePoint apps cannot live in SharePoint; instead they have to be executed within a browser client or in a non-SharePoint server such as IIS (Internet Information Services, the extensible web server created by Microsoft) or a cloud server (such as Microsoft Azure). SharePoint apps are granted permissions to get into SharePoint only via OAuth and communicate with it via Client Side Object Model (CSOM) or REST APIs.

Some other points about SharePoint 2013 are:

Everything in SharePoint 2013 is now an app.

This includes lists and libraries; although their implementation hasn’t changed, they are referred in user interface as to create a more unified experience.

The ramp-up time for developing apps is greatly reduced.

This is so because developers developing apps for SharePoint need not be familiar with SharePoint specific things, like its object model for example. If they want to work with SharePoint data, then they have the option of leveraging some of its standard services or CSOM.

Upgrades to future versions of SharePoint will be easier.

This is so because apps running outside of SharePoint communicate with it via Client Side Object Model (CSOM) or REST APIs, and are therefore unaffected by changes in SharePoint.

Hosting platform features can be leveraged in the apps.

In SharePoint 2013, apps can run in a different hosting platform, like non-SharePoint server such as IIS or cloud server such as Windows Azure. (For that matter, apps can also run on non-Windows platform like a Linux/Unix system and communicate with SharePoint via REST APIs.) So the apps can leverage the features of the hosting platform, which cannot be done in SharePoint. This enables taking SharePoint apps to a different level altogether, further than what can be done with WSPs or sandboxed solutions.

What is a SharePoint app?

A SharePoint app is a self-contained piece of functionality which extends the capabilities of SharePoint.
SharePoint apps run outside SharePoint, within a browser client or in a non-SharePoint server such as IIS (Internet Information Services, the extensible web server created by Microsoft) or a cloud server such as Microsoft Azure. (For that matter, apps can also run on a non-Windows platform like a Linux/Unix system and communicate with SharePoint via REST APIs.)

What are the advantages of leveraging the app model?

Leveraging the app model has advantages for all the stakeholders: organizations, the users within organizations, and us (the developers of the app).

Is the app model the need of the hour? Is it aligned with the future?

Absolutely! Today’s world is definitely an “app world”; everybody is talking about (either developing or using) apps. App model facilitates that and is therefore the need of the hour and it is aligned with the future as well.

Does the app model help in raising the bar for employee engagement? If so, how exactly?

Yes, the app model helps in raising the bar for employee engagement. Here’s how:

Easy lifecycle of HRMS/AMS apps

HRMS/AMS leverage the app model and are architected as a collection of apps. Each of these apps have an easy and straightforward lifecycle, which means that it is easy to discover, install, upgrade, and uninstall these apps. This indirectly increases employee engagement since it makes their life easier as compared to the situation in which it is not easy to use these apps; whatever gets in the way of their KRAs (Key Result Areas) increases their frustration and reduces their engagement level.

Support for mobility

Since Nitovate leverages the app model, it supports mobility which allows users to do things anytime, anywhere, and “on the go”. From the standpoint of the users, this is very convenient, makes their life easier, and therefore indirectly increases their engagement level.