SharePoint_aint_broken

Updating files in an App Part (SharePoint Add-in)

Luckily, SharePoint Add-ins (or App Parts, like they were called earlier) are slowly getting killed and rooted out of all the sites they once were deployed to – and I don’t think anyone’s going to miss them. However, as so often happens with legacy implementations, there will still be thousands of sites, where SharePoint administrators and developers will be responsible for maintaining and developing the solutions further. This will occasionally require updating app parts, which is a process that kind of sucks. Here I’ll try to simplify the process.

Problem(s)

Not all the files in an app part are updated during the deployment and upgrade of the app. This is difficult to debug and leads to new functionality or enhancements not being applied to the target system.

Solution

Make sure you’re versioning your files correctly. Typical, old-school SharePoint Add-ins contain altogether 3 places where you’ll need to manually change a version number for each version. So be sure to check these out before you deploy:

  1. AppManifest-file
    AppManifest for SharePoint Add-ins (or App parts, you know..)
    AppManifest for SharePoint Add-ins (or App parts, you know..)
  2. Feature properties
    SharePoint Feature Properties
    SharePoint Feature Properties
  3. Feature upgrade instructions (template file)
    This is probably the most retarded step and the most difficult to remember. You’ll need to modify feature’s versioning and make sure the elements.xml -files that coordinate which files to update on app part deployment are referenced. You’ll need to edit a feature, select it’s manifest and scroll all the way down to edit the manifest. Try to make something out of this screenshot below:
    SharePoint Feature Upgrade
    SharePoint Feature Upgrade

 

After changing all of these three, you can publish/package the app, deploy the app part to the app catalog, and then update it on the sites you’ll be using it.

What a drag, right? Ah, but that’s SharePoint.

And now that you’re done with this stuff, go do something nice, and hope you’ll never have to update any more App Parts (or SharePoint Add-Ins, or whatever they are called this month).

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Antti K. Koskela

Solutions Architect / Escalations Engineer at Koskila / Norppandalotti Software / Valo Solutions
Antti Koskela is a proud digital native nomadic millenial full stack developer (is that enough funny buzzwords? That's definitely enough funny buzzwords!), who works as a Solutions Architect for Valo Intranet, the product that will make you fall in love with your intranet. Working with the global partner network, he's responsible for the success of Valo deployments happening all around the world. He's been a developer from 2004 (starting with PHP and Java), and he's been bending and twisting SharePoint into different shapes since MOSS. Nowadays he's not only working on SharePoint, but also on .NET projects, Azure, Office 365 and a lot of other stuff. This is his personal professional (e.g. professional, but definitely personal) blog.

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