Building Apps on Office 365 should be like Lego not Meccano

apps on office 365 - like Lego

Introduction to apps on Office 365

We live in a world where businesses are starting to have data in two different places in the cloud and on premise. Having data in the cloud with Office 365 is brilliant as it allows  for more employees to be mobile and for them to access data and files from anywhere and on any device. Then we have that legacy data that exists on premise, which businesses still rely on as many of their key systems are still on these systems and we can create these hybrid environments where we get the best of both worlds.

The World Today

But building apps that span across these two worlds can be difficult, we may need specialist skills to write an application that can grab data from these different sources. We can’t host applications directly on Office 365, so we need to find a way of hosting the application and getting Office 365 to access it. There is no central task list where can get tasks that span across multiple different SharePoint sites and collection. There is no audit trail that gives a complete break down of what is happening and in real time. Bringing in data from multiple different sources can be very tricky. Deploying these applications between environments is often difficult.

This can often lead us  feeling frustrated, as we are wasting time and money trying to do the simplest things. I know I do and it can often leaves feeling like this.

So Lego or Meccano

Well  what we need is something like Lego, where we can have building blocks of different sizes that can easily fit together with out any specialist skills or tools, like you would if you had a Meccano set. I hated Meccano sets they were always so fiddly to build anything, and it sometimes involved forcing the pieces together which might mean slightly bending them to fit together. Where as Lego was simple, you could build what ever you wanted from very simple models to very complex all made up from different sets and common components.

This clip from the Lego movie is how easy building apps should be

There are other tools out there allow you to make simple apps in Office 365 like Microsoft Access, the short lived FoSL and the zombie app InfoPath which died and then was brought back to life and there are many more out there on the market. But they all only take you 90% of the way and more importantly we are still doing that Meccano thing where we have to make customisations to get them to work properly.

What we want is a platform that will allow you to build an application that doesn’t need specialist skills and it has components that can be dragged and dropped. Where can access data from anywhere whether it is in the cloud or on premise. The application can be accessed anywhere and on any device. With no need to build different forms and we can have components that are completely reusable and the apps come with a complete audit trail of everything that has happened and last of all a task list that shows all your tasks where ever you are.

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