As a developer there are times I want to quickly throw something together to see if an idea I have is workable. I don’t need to go through all the ceremony of creating a project with necessary dependencies, good architecture, etc. if all I want to know is if I can access some service. For most things I can fire up a quick test project using either Console or Web project templates and have my answer in a few minutes. For SharePoint though, this has never been very easy.
Introducing Napa Tools
“Napa is a great way to get started building Office Add-Ins right in a browser window. You don’t need to install any tools such as Visual Studio. All you need is an Office 365 account and a supported browser.”
With previous versions of SharePoint, server-side code was really the only way to go to create custom SharePoint solutions. Developing for SharePoint was tricky as it required a local install in order to build and package solutions. This made throwing together test harnesses very slow to prove out a concept. With the introduction of client side libraries and services, extending SharePoint with custom code has become much easier.
Even though developing for SharePoint doesn’t mean server side code, it still has packaging requirements. That’s where Napa comes into play. Using an online editor which resembles lightweight editors like Sublime and Visual Studio Code, anyone with a modern browser can throw together a quick test or demo without a local install of SharePoint or even worrying about manifests and elements files. The editor provides syntax highlighting, jump to definition, basic Intellisense capabilities, and saves your work automatically.