SP SIN Store Public Alpha

A bit over a week ago, I released the first public alpha of the SP SIN Store extensions.

For those of you living under a rock (or haven’t been interested so far) the SP SIN Store extensions creates and App store based on the SP SIN framework, working across all versions of SharePoint (2007 and 2010 tested so far).

The version released now is just a very early preview. It includes a single store, which is a static FTP server that I control for now, and with four packages only.

SP SIN Store supports different stores, though, unlike the built-in stuff in SP2013 for example (and obviously completely unlike anything in 2007 and 2010).

For example, I’ve been working on an organizational store repository that creates an SP SIN store in any site collection in a farm so that you can upload only the solutions you’d like to share in your farm, including any custom made solutions you’d like to distribute. Users with the appropriate permissions can then install solutions from that store only.

This custom store isn’t quite ready yet (it still requires manual setup, a setup that isn’t very user friendly). I’ve tested that it works, though, so the remaining work is to get it to automatically set up new repositories through Central Administration. Yes, this repository will support multiple stores throughout the site, configured on the web application level, so that you can expose a certain set of solutions to your front end web applications and a different set of solutions to your intranet or partner extranet, for example. I’ll try to get it done as soon as I return from a somewhat spontaneous and now extended vacation in the US.

Because SP SIN supports any custom repository, you, or anyone, could for example build a repository that gets solutions from Codeplex, from the Microsoft SP2013 App store, or from any web site that exposes the WSP or APP files for download. The sample store repository will show you how, and it’s really fairly simple.

Further, as mentioned, the SP SIN store will also support custom solution packages, although this is a future feature and may not be available at first release. In other words, in addition to farm WSPs, sandbox WSPs, and 2013 APPs, SP SIN store will also support .SIN packages, which is an entirely new format. In fact, there really isn’t anything preventing SP SIN for supporting completely custom package types either, so maybe someone would want to build their own solution types?

Anyway, here is the first alpha, as well as the future site for the more stable releases:



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SP SIN Store Revival

Hola Amigos!

As you no doubt know, I’ve written a framework called SP SIN which allows you to inject stuff into your SharePoint pages without touching the master pages or giving users access to SharePoint Designer. And a ton of other cool stuff. For example, SP SIN is extremely extensible, allowing you to customize virtually every factor of the operation. Check out http://spsin.com/ for more information.

One of those “other cool stuff” things is an app store. No, I’m not talking about the mindbogglingly stupid App model in SP 2013 although that can certainly be included, but a real application store for SharePoint, working in SP2007, SP2010,  and SP2013. Oh, and any future version as well. Sadly, no SharePoint 2003 support, though. I have to draw the line somewhere, and I do so at .NET 2.0 :-)

Did I mention the SP SIN store extensions supports farm solutions, sandbox solutions, and, when I have time, the 2013 App model as well? And any future model that Microsoft throws at us as the newest, greatest thing since sliced bread?

And if you think that is cool, how about designing your own solution model? I plan on introducing the SIN package, a completely new solution model in SharePoint that will support pretty much anything you want, including all the existing models. Imagine having one solution deployment model that can deploy:

  • both farm and sandbox WSP, STP, APP packages
  • multiple packages at the same time
  • server side code (for example deploying custom SQL server databases or installing custom Windows applications like SharePoint Manager)
  • any combination of the above (for example two farm WSPs, a sandbox WSP, and an APP, plus deploying SharePoint Manager or SharePoint Designer to the server)

Don’t like this approach? Want something simpler? Well, the SP SIN store extensions supports deploying any type of solution package, so you can create your own as well.

I also want to build an actual App store, and I’ve even gotten some help with the design. I’ve built the core functionality which allows a much easier approach to getting your solutions into the store. In fact, if you have the WSP with five clicks, you can have your solution deployed to the store and ready to be installed by anyone that has the SP SIN store extension installed.

Don’t want me to control your application deployment? Want an internal organization store instead of a public one? Fine, the SP SIN store extensions support that too. I’ll add an extension that creates an application repository in Central Admin or somewhere else, allowing users with the appropriate permissions to install apps from the approved repository only.

But really, anyone can create their own app repositories and support whatever features they want. For example, my store will not include payments so it closely matches how the WordPress plug-in repository works. However, if you want to build a store that supports payments, fine, you’re welcome to do that if you want.

And because everything uses standard SharePoint deployment methods, just like SP SIN, you can even put your fancy new store in my store to have it deployed to whoever wants to use your store instead of mine.

Yeah, I know, it will blow your mind, but really, it’s just an example of how awesome SharePoint can be.

Here’s the thing… I’m limited in how much time I can spend on this because, you know, I get hungry sometimes and I need to eat. As such, it may be a long time until I can actually get down to doing all of this.

I have a lot of the code done already, and I’ve even set up a demo of the organization app repository. There’s plenty of stuff I haven’t done, though, so at best, this is alpha software only, and definitely not ready for production systems.

So, what I’m suggesting is that I put up early alpha code now, or shortly, so that your can start to get an impression of how it works. It will also allow you or anyone to start building components or stores yourself, and perhaps you’d even like to contribute to the core functionality by helping me develop.

To gauge interest in this, I’d like you to comment and let me know. If enough people show interest, I’ll put up an alpha version of the store extensions. Perhaps I should even do a public presentation of the SP SIN store and show you how it all works?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.


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Are You a Sinner?

A few months back, I created a framework called SP SIN, which allows you to inject code like JavaScript or CSS into any SharePoint page without modifying the master pages. The SIN part of the name stands for Script/Style INjector.

Modifying master pages may seem like a trivial task, but there are many and inherently bad consequences of doing so. For example, you need to customize the master page which breaks the link to the deployed master page, which in turn complicates things like upgrading or global modifications to master pages.

SP SIN solves this and many other problems. For example, I’ve built a resource type that allows you to add Google Analytics to your SharePoint pages with just a few clicks. I’ve described how to build SEO plugins to add metadata to pages, showing content, scripts, or style sheets to site owners only, and so on.

SP SIN is a free framework, available on CodePlex (along with many videos that show how it works), and feedback from users has so far been pretty amazing.

One aspect of SP SIN is that it is built to be incredibly flexible and extensible. Even if you’re not a developer, you can still build and redeploy SP SIN configuration packages, and if you are a developer, especially a third tier developer, then your options for extension are vast, to put it mildly.

I’ve even built a proof-of-concept for an App store, that works across all versions of SharePoint (back to SharePoint 2007) in SP SIN.

Here’s where this may interest you as a reader of USP Journal. I’ve wanted to write an issue, maybe more, on SP SIN ever since I created it, but I need your feedback on the type of issue.

Should I write for end users who just want to put SP SIN to use without focusing on any development or extensibility points? Should I target middle tier developers who may not want to or be able to build WSP solutions? Should I go deep down and talk about building custom SP SIN resource types and SIN CYCLE receivers? Should I explain the inner workings in an SP SIN Explained type issue?

Here’s what I want you to do.

Head over to the SP SIN homepage. http://spsin.com/
There’s a brief intro video on the front page that shows and explains the outline of how SP SIN works. Next, review three videos (or not, if you don’t have time) that explains the various extensibility options.

Custom SP SIN Resource Types

Configuration Packages

SIN Cycle Overview

If you don’t have time to review all the videos, there are also separate articles describing the approaches on the home page. Check out the Documentation section on the home page for more info. http://spsin.codeplex.com/documentation

Finally, let me know, either by email, comment on the home page, hitting me up on Facebook, comment or videos, or whatever, what you would like to learn about SP SIN.

furuknap<[at]>gmail.com for comments and suggestions :-)


PS: Of course, if you like what you see, you should download SP SIN and start exploring too. It’s free, open-source, and I think it’s absolutely fantastic (I may be biased) :-)

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