CorasWorks and partners are releasing more and more apps to the App Store. Typically, the business applications are being provided in one of two basic configurations – Local or One Touch. I’ll briefly cover the differences between the two.
Local configuration is the classic way of providing portable apps. By portable, we mean apps that can be built by a partner, and then, shipped to a customer, installed and used – without major configuration. The Time Off Management app by R3 Business Solutions is an example. The app is self-contained and ships as a single application template with all functionality. Technically, the various application features are all configured to work with the data that is stored within the application site itself. This makes it very portable and easy to install and use. The end-user is free to customize the configurations, but, it is very easy to get started with. In addition, local configuration is very useful for apps where you will have many separate instances. Examples of these are the CorasWorks Our Workspace and the Add-Ons.
One Touch configuration is a new type of application configuration that is possible using the new v10 of the CorasWorks Workplace Suite. Typically, these applications have two parts that are separate application templates. One is an “application configuration site” and the other is the production site that holds the data. Examples of these are the CorasWorks Department Dashboard and the Help Desk with Self-Service. There are a number of benefits to a One Touch configuration as follows:
- Application Management – An application owner has control over the app, via the ACS site, and thus, the users can be prevented from “messing” with the app functionality
- Centralized Application Governance – You can have many ACS sites for different apps in a centralized site collection with control, even though the production apps themselves are distributed across your SharePoint environment (different site collections and web apps)
- Multi-Site Central Configuration Management – You can have a single ACS site, which is centrally configured, that serves as the basis for multiple sites. this is very useful in situations where you have multiple instances of sites where you want consistency, such as our Department Dashboard or multiple project sites for a single program
- Distributed Application Functionality – The One Touch configuration enables you to distribute application functionality across your SharePoint environment. (See my blog on the Self-Service Snaplets of the Help Desk). Effectively, you can “snap off” any functionality from a production site and distribute it to portals, dashboards, my sites, or other apps. Users are able to work wherever is convenient while working with the production app information. Most importantly, the application manager can make one change to the ACS site and the many distributed UI’s will immediately update.
The key technologies that power the One Touch Configuration are Global Links, Central Views, Lock Down Manager, and CorasWorks Central Configuration. Using these features it is easy to build apps in a One Touch configuration and very easy to install them and even to distribute the application functionality.
For many apps, you’ll see CorasWorks publishing both a Local and a One Touch version. However, certain apps lend themselves to one approach or the other. The short guideline is:
- Local configuration is for apps where you’ll be using it for multiple unrelated instances. Great for workspaces, add-ons, and, business apps that would apply to different departments.
- One Touch configuration is where you want a more controlled environment, multiple instances of an app which are related, or the ability to distribute application functionality.
Check out the new CorasWorks App Store for plug-and-play apps for CorasWorks/SharePoint!