Microsoft's 'Napa' toolset readied for Office apps

Browser-based technology intended for Microsoft's Cloud App Model, combining Web technologies and cloud services within Office and SharePoint

Microsoft this week began offering its "Napa" toolset, geared toward building applications for Microsoft's Cloud App Model for Office and SharePoint.

Napa is a free, browser-based application for SharePoint available in a preview form. "Napa provides a lightweight, browser-based companion to the Visual Studio rich client and is a great way to get started with Office and SharePoint development without having to install anything onto your machine," said Microsoft Corporate Vice President S. Somasegar, in blog post.

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Cloud App Model is Microsoft's mechanism for developing applications that combine Web technologies and cloud services within Office and SharePoint, said Microsoft's Jason Zander, corporate vice president for the Visual Studio team, also in a blog post. Napa is being unveiled in the wake of a public preview of Office and SharePoint 2013 this week. The upcoming Office platform focuses on cloud, touch, and social capabilities.

"As we set out to create developer tools for the new Cloud App Model, we took a fresh look at the overall solution we wanted to give to our customers," Zander said. "We wanted to provide a lightweight, in-browser experience, so that you could quickly build your SharePoint or Office Web app in the same browser where they would run. Therefore, we created a first-class development environment called Napa as an online companion to Visual Studio."

In parallel with Napa, developers also can use extensibility models for Office and SharePoint, such as Visual Basic for Applications and Visual Studio Tools for Office. To access Napa, developers must sign up for the Office 365 Developer Preview.

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