A common problem on Azure web apps when scaling up or swapping slots is “stuttering”. At the moment an instance is added to the pool (scale out) or your swap is swapped (reload the app on the slot), your application is “cold , which means that your application on that instance needs to be reloaded. In the case of Sitecore (or other large applications), this may take a while. In this period, visitors may face a long loading time, which may take up to a few minutes.
With the release of Visual Studio 2013, Microsoft also added a very nice MVC template for remote SharePoint Apps. This is a slightly modifed version of the default MVC5 template, which doesn’t, for example, contain an own authentication provider, but does contain all the stuff like bootstrap and the latest jquery version. Some extra helper files have been added (via a nuget package) to assist in the communication with SharePoint 2013. This does work perfectly with the Actions defined in MVC controllers, but the code doesn’t work together with ApiControllers. Yet 😉 This blogpost shows us how (roughly) the same functionality can be implemented for use with the WebApi controller! At the end, the full source code is provided, it works in azure, as well as with high trust solutions. A good read on the basics of the SharePointContextProvider can be found here and here
Note: the provided code is by no means production ready! I didn’t test it thoroughly, but the basic scenario’s do work!
With the introduction of the SharePoint App model, it becomes more and more interesting to convert existing applications in your organisation from a “plain” MVC application to a SharePoint app. This makes it easy to integrate SharePoint capabilities such as Search, UserProfiles and newsfeeds within your application, to make it even cooler! This blogpost describes the steps that are required to convert a MVC application to a SharePoint 2013 app using Visual Studio 2013
With the introduction of Apps for SharePoint 2013 and the expansion of the SharePoint API, a whole new world opened for us, the SharePoint developers. This blogpost describes on how to integrate SignalR 2.0 into a SharePoint 2013 MVC app, with the possiblity to use SignalR from your hostweb! We will end up with a nifty SharePoint application that makes use of signalR and a remote event receiver, which uses the signalR hub to push through new items to every registred client. An example solution is provided at the end of the document, but imagine what you could do with this. I personally always include signalR solutions when building apps, to monitor all events that I am interested in when debugging/fixing apps.
SharePoint 2013 brought great things: great new social features, the API got a major extension and of course, the new introduced app model. A feature that I really missed though, was the ability to post documents to your newsfeed from the context menu. This blogpost describes how to do this.