Tag Archive for CW Products

“Ready-for-Work” App Certification – The Process and the Value to You

Each of the apps in the App Store goes through a CorasWorks “Ready-for-Work” app certification process.  This includes apps published by third parties and CorasWorks that are built with CorasWorks and run in a CorasWorks on SharePoint environment.  In this article, we’ll review the standards, our process, and, how this translates into value for you.


“Ready-for-Work” Standards

To be certified as a CorasWorks Ready-for-Work app it has to meet a number of standards as follows:

  • it must be productized, meaning packaged, downloadable, and usable “out-of-the-box”
  • it cannot contain any custom DLL’s that require installation (it must be “DLL-Free”)
  • it must be portable, meaning that it can be downloaded and installed and used without requiring manual configuration of components for URL changes
  • it must contain documentation that is deemed adequate for the scope of the app
  • it must install in a normal manner (by normal we mean in accordance with the standards of CorasWorks and Microsoft SharePoint)
  • it needs to work in accordance with the documentation
  • it must meet the basic CorasWorks standards to be able to be customized and connected to other apps and the environment using CorasWorks wizards


Our Process

Each app is run through a process.  We review the package, install the app, deploy it, and put it through its paces in accordance with the documentation.  Now, with that said, we are only validating that it works without errors.  Our process is not intended to review the application for its suitability for purpose or to judge it.  However, we do sometimes write our own reviews of apps or promote them – these you can take as de facto endorsements of the app.


Are all apps “Ready-for-Work”?

At this time they are.  All of the apps in the App Store are by default Ready-for-Work certified.  However, we will have apps from publishers that contain custom code.  When they are published, we will note the app as a Custom app with an icon on the listing and detail pages, and, a notation in the Specs.


Why Ready-for-Work Apps are valuable?

So, what does Ready-for-Work certification mean to you?  Here are a few ways that this translates into greater value and lower cost and risks.

- They work – The apps will run on your CorasWorks on SharePoint environment – whether you are running the AppEngine, the Workplace Suite, or the Toolset – they are certified to run out of the box.

- Supportable by the Ecosystem – If they meet the standard then CorasWorks or any CorasWorks professional can support the apps.  This vastly reduces publisher risk.

- Portability – This has two benefits. First, that the app is easy to install and get started.  Second, that its configuration means that it is portable within your environment. This is important if you are running apps through a build, test, deploy process.  By being portable it means that you can promote the app into the next stage without having to reconfigure for URL changes.  This reduces costs and improves manageability.

- Lower Cost and Risk with DLL-Free Apps – You can use any apps from any publisher without having to install and support custom dll’s.  It also means that your entire app environment is effectively supported by CorasWorks.  It is our responsibility to move the app platform forward to the next version of SharePoint (2010) and to manage the app code base.

- Customizable and Connectable – You know that the apps can be customized and connected to other apps and your environment using the standard CorasWorks wizards and methodology.  This reduces your costs and gives you the power to move your apps forward on your own.


The bottom line is that an environment of CorasWorks certified “Ready-for-Work” apps can have many apps from many different publishers and they will all work on the same standards and be able to be customized and connected to meet your changing needs.  Effectively, CorasWorks is able to stand behind all of the apps and take responsibility for moving the underlying app platform forward onto new versions of SharePoint.

We did a good job of protecting our customers’ investments as they went from SharePoint 2003 to SharePoint 2007.  By having the Ready-for-Work certification we are able to do the same as we plan to move from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010 next year – the difference is that we are now effectively supporting an ecosystem of third party publishers, as well as, apps from CorasWorks and custom built by customers and services partners.



AppEngine – What is in it? What is not?

In my last post I gave a brief intro to the AppEngine for SharePoint.  In this post, I’ll drill into the details of what is in it and what it not?  This is important for those that are building apps for the AppEngine as a target app platform, whether you are an independent application publisher, a custom solution provider, or, part of an in-house builder team.  It is certainly not exhaustive, but, it does cover the key features.


 Core Workplace Suite System engines

The AppEngine includes most of the capabilities required to run any application that you build using the CorasWorks Workplace Suite v10.2.  To support this natively, it includes the same core system engines of the Suite, consisting of:

-  CorasWorks Installation Manager

-  CorasWorks Data Engine

-  CorasWorks Display Engine

-  CorasWorks Management Engine

-  CorasWorks Action Framework


 Included User Interface Extensions

It includes the following capabilities that allow you to create and customize display web parts for the UI leveraging the core engines above:

-  Display Wizard for Customization of Navigation and Displays

-  Grid Display

-  Calendar Display

-  Chart Display

-  Menu Navigation

-  Tree View Navigation

-  Up To Navigation


Supported Runtime Features:

The AppEngine provides runtime support for the following features that are typically part of an app built using the Workplace Suite:

-  Support for Central Views

-  Support for Standard New, Edit, View Forms for SharePoint

-  Support for Custom Action Forms

-  Support for the Action Launcher

-  Support for Document Upload and Document Creation Using Templates

-  Support for Email Notification and Email Actions

-  Support for Publishing Actions and End-User Selected destinations

-  Support for standard Create, Modify, Delete, and Print Document Actions

-  Support for Snaplets – local or central view based

-  Ability to Copy a Central View to a Local View

-  Support for Central Configuration Sites

-  Support for Global Navigation

-  CorasWorks Central Configuration

-  Support for Parent-Child views of any type

-  Support for Global Links

-  Support for site directories for portfolio management

-  Support for Lock-Down

-  Support for Local and One Touch application configurations

-  Support for Data Connections across data types, sites, site collections, and web applications

-  Support for Displays using Data Integration Toolset data providers to SharePoint and External data sources

-  Workplace ID custom field for Generating Unique ID’s


What Capabilities are not Included

The following capabilities are not included in the AppEngine:

-  Ability to Attach a Central View to a Local Display

-  Ability to Add or Remove Actions from a Local Display

-  List Activation Triggers and Scheduled Activity Timers

-  Builder Wizards – all of those appearing in Site Settings – Actions Wizard, Central Views Wizard, List Activation Wizard, Scheduled Activity Wizard, Master Page Wizard, and Global Links Manager

-  The Data Integration Toolset and its capabilities are not included

-  Design Migrator


The bottom line is pretty much that if you build it with the Suite you can run it, customize it, and connect it up with the AppEngine. You can use the Community Forums or contact support for more questions on features not mentioned here.   In future articles, we’ll be addressing the new “application server” deployment model and how you are now able to have a combined, yet, separate (and less expensive) runtime production web farm and in-line builder environment.



AppEngine for SharePoint – Quick Intro

This week, we released the AppEngine for SharePoint.  This new product is a key piece of our go forward product line.  In this intro article I’ll cover what it is, what you can do with it, and what is in it.


 What is it?

The AppEngine provides you with an extensive “app” runtime system for SharePoint.  It enables organizations to add immediate business value through plug-and-play apps.  It is a product you install onto SharePoint 2007 (WSS or MOSS) and it enables you to run any apps that can be built using the Workplace Suite.  You can run apps from any CorasWorks App Store app publisher, apps that you build, or apps that you contract to be built for you.  In addition, it allows you to customize all apps and to connect up apps and your entire SharePoint environment (including, CW-based apps, all team sites, other types of sites, and any other apps from anyone).

This product is now the first step in the CorasWorks application stack.  It is priced differently – $4k for the first server and $8k for unlimited servers and users on a farm.  This means that you can scale out your SharePoint production environment with the AppEngine without ANY additional costs.


What can you do with it?

First, you can use plug-and-play apps built for the AppEngine.  Standard types of “apps” consist of team sites/workspaces, business processes, departmental apps, project-based apps, department-group-role-and-personal dashboards, portals, and others.  Visit the See Apps In Action library to see video demonstrations of a sample of apps in the App Store from CorasWorks and application publisher partners that run on the AppEngine.

Second, you can extensively customize the apps.  The AppEngine comes with the CorasWorks Display Wizard used to customize all navigation, displays, and data connections of plug-and-play apps and components that you create.  Yes, you can create your own display web parts and navigation to add functionality to your native SharePoint sites, business applications, dashboards, portals, etc..  The product contains extensive documentation and online resources to make it easy.

Third, you can connect apps and build your own “front end” solutions connected to apps and team sites across your environment.  You can create your own custom dashboards, portals, my sites, extranets, task-specific consoles, and cross-app connections.  These  types of “apps” are typically custom designed; the AppEngine makes them easy to create,  to customize, and to connect everything up.

You connect things together through the data, through structural connections such as global navigation and line-of-site hierarchies, and through action based task automation, distributed application functionality, and connected workstreams.  The AppEngine is used to connect all apps and information across the entire SharePoint environment (across data types, sites, site collections, web applications).  The sites/apps may be built using CorasWorks, just native SharePoint, custom built, or, off-the-shelf from a 3rd party vendor – it doesn’t matter.  With the AppEngine you can connect them all to create a dynamic, integrated, manageable work environment.


What is in it?

It contains the full core CorasWorks v10 Modular Application System – the same as in the Workplace Suite.  Thus, it contains the same data engine, display engine, management engine, and custom actions framework.  It contains the full display set for Grids, Calendars, Charts and Navigation.  It supports the full set of custom Action types and forms.  It contains the Display Wizard and supports Global Links, Lock Down, Central Views, Snaplets, Central Configuration & Management and One Touch configuration – powerful system level features of the Workplace Suite.

The difference is that you don’t use it to design and build apps with custom business functionality, end-user task automation or system activities.  It doesn’t include the Builder Wizards from the Workplace Suite, the Timer and Triggers framework, the ability for end-users/site owners to Add or Remove actions from displays or attach Central Views, and, the higher level design and management features of the Workplace Suite.  It does allow you to connect to Toolset and any other XML data streams from across your SharePoint workplace or the cloud, but, the Toolset is sold separately.



The AppEngine for SharePoint is a very powerful runtime system for “apps” on SharePoint.  It is the front-end piece of the CorasWorks application stack.  It is priced to enable organizations of all sizes to immediately get the business value of plug-and-play apps as part of a fully connected work environment on SharePoint without having to worry about additional costs as they scale.

We’ll be drilling down into various aspects of the AppEngine, Apps, and the CorasWorks App Stack in future articles, stay tuned…