3 March 2013

SharePoint 2013 supports open source / non-Microsoft platforms

    At this point in time (early 2013) almost all the Microsoft web frameworks and libraries are distributed as open source software: ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Web Api, Entity Framework, Reactive Extensions, SignalR. You can contribute back to the original source or you can fork it and start developing and distributing your own flavour.
If you are a .NET web developer you are now using an open source development stack.

    On the application server front Windows Azure can boot up Linux instances on demand and it can host Node.js, PHP and Java aplications. You can also deploy your Java application to Windows Azure directly from Eclipse. No, this does not mean that the hell has frozen over, it just shows that .NET is not the one and only development framework supported by Microsoft after it has consistently and strategically invested in support for open source software in the last couple of years.

    SharePoint is one of the most profitable products for Microsoft and has recently got a new version  SharePoint 2013 that will further strengthen Microsoft's support for the open source software ecosystem. It introduces a new application model called "Apps for SharePoint" that allows for web content to be delivered/hosted in SharePoint from any web application regardless of its language or its host operating system. If your web framework of choice can output HTML it can become an "App for SharePoint". The main vehicle to accomplish all these new possibilities is the improved SharePoint 2013 REST api.

    New scenarios are now made possible:
  • As a software vendor you can now create or repackage your ASP.NET MVC or Ruby on Rails web applications as "App for SharePoint" applications.
  • As an organisation with many internal web based systems you can now gather and expose them under the same SharePoint roof leveraging a single point of entry for authentication and application discovery. 
  • As an employer of software developers you can now recruit from a larger pool of people as you are no longer constrained by a single language and software framework. You can now experiment and pilot different languages and tools in the eternal quest for the software platform that will reduce development time and effort.

   Microsoft has recognized and adapted to the emerging trends in the software industry and this change will ripple through to all web based enterprise software products that target SharePoint.
   If you are web developer regardles of your programming language and web framework of choice you now have a new delivery platform with SharePoint 2013.

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