Excel 5.0 in 1993 was the first version of the product to support VBA and Excel 2003 came with the support of addins. Excel 2013 is also a landmark in the history of customized Office programming with the launch of Apps For Office. Indeed they bring a very promising technology for tailored development and also benefit from new ways of distribution. You can distribute your app through an online store but you can also setup easily an app catalog within your company. Two weeks after the release of Keluro Web Analytics on the public Office store, we will point out five topics that app creators should know before submitting their app to the store.
#You will need integration Even if you believe that your app will expose only very basic functionalities at first, we encourage you to script your tasks for packaging the app. You will see that a true deployment of an app for Office involves a lot of small actions such as minification, changing the url in the manifest, setting a revision number etc. In addition to these mandatory integration steps you may want to run your unit tests against many browsers. You can use continuous integration to publish the app to your company’s sharepoint so that it is already distributed within your company for direct usage or testing.
Setting up continuous integration builds are always seen as a waste of time at the beginning but most of the time this worthies the effort at the end. At Keluro, we use a Teamcity server hosted on a Microsoft Azure virtual machines while the task are written in Powershell with PSake.
#You will have to be crossbrowser If you are willing to be published on the Office Store you must be browser compatible. Indeed, when dealing with an App for Office you will probably do most of your dev with the Excel 2013 (desktop version). However, you must also support Excel Online. That is a very good requirement from Microsoft but remember that Excel Online allows you to use Excel (with reduced functionalities) within any browser on any OS. The apps distributed on the Store must also be compatible with Excel Online on different browsers. It is written in the Validation Policies for the app but its something that you can easily skip within the MSDN documentation.
#You will thoroughly tested The validation process on the Office store is quite severe, people there are making a great job to avoid broken apps to be distributed on the Store, read carefully the Validation Policies otherwise you will be rejected. You may be rejected several times not only for a bug but for bad screenshots or a lack of description. That is why if you have a continous integration process you will not be rejected for a ‘‘bad reason’’ (e.g. missing version number, wrong debugging url etc.). Our advice is to follow exactly the instructions provided on the MSDN and to a submit only 100% bug-free app.