Earlier today, Microsoft announced their plans to discontinue the preview program for autohosted SharePoint apps, one of the two type of cloud app model approaches to SharePoint development. This really shouldn't come as a surprise to folks... the only real use for autohosted apps was in demos... that was the only realistic option that was available to us... production just wasn't suitable.
However as always, there are likely a good number of customers who used this preview technology in production. This is the risk of being an early adopter... relying on preview tech has some risks and one of which is they may pull the rug out from under you.
For those of you who did this, Microsoft has provided an article on MSDN on guidance for converting your autohosted apps to provider-hosted apps. I think there's some great guidance in here! wink wink The paper takes an autohosted app and shows you how to take it to a provider-hosted app. You can see the starting and ending point from two code samples provided in the new GitHub OfficeDev account, specifically this repository: GitHub: Auto-Hosted-Migration-Code-Samples.
From my point of view, this is a great thing. Autohosted apps were never more than toys... you couldn't manage them once they were deployed, you were limited in what you could do with them, they weren't deployed to the real Azure... it was a subset of the Azure features managed by the Office 365 team. So where do we go from here? I have two wishes... I'll prioritize each one:q
Wish #1 - Give me an API to deploy an app from outside SharePoint
Why: Give me a way to have a customer BUY an app from ME and let ME deploy it into their environment & provision the necessary stuff up (optionally like pushing components to Azure or AWS or etc or standing up my own tenant locally).
My process would then do everything Office 365 did... provision the stuff in Azure, register the app, update the stuff within the RemoteWeb's
web.config, update the
AppManifest.xml, create the app, deploy the app.
Wish #2 - SharePoint should do Wish #1 for me
I'd love to have the ability within my tenant (both in O365 & on-prem) to provide my Azure management cert so I can deploy an "autohosted app vNext"... something like the deployment of a provider-hosted app.
This would be a cool deployment option... obviously this opens up a LOT of questions, like when I deploy an app, can I chose to have it use an existing azure sub, or deploy it like a "traditional provider-hosted app" or "can the azure subscript be scoped to a tenant / site collection"
We'll see where things go over the coming months!