Welcome!

Silverlight Authors: Steven Mandel, Gerardo A Dada, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Yeshim Deniz, Greg O'Connor

Blog Feed Post

What are your options for a test environment with SharePoint Online (Office 365)?

I’ve seen this conversation come up a few times.  Deploying code to SharePoint Online is not like deploying code to your test and production environments back on-premises. I thought I would give my thoughts on it and that will help you make a better decision.  Office 365 is not like Azure in the fact that you can simply spin up another web role for testing.  Nor do we have the ability to deploy code to one role and then swap it into production like we can with Azure either.  That means we have to get more creative.  Sure, you can develop code locally on a local SharePoint 2010 server and deploy it.  You can even use Visual Studio 11 to help you publish the solutions to the cloud faster.  However, this isn’t necessarily a good “test” environment since SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online have a lot of differences.

Effectively, the way I see it, we have two options for a test environment.

  • Create a new site collection
  • Create a new Office 365 account (tenant)

I know what you are thinking.  As a traditional developer building on-premises solutions, neither of these sound ideal.  Maybe they are not, but they actually make a lot of sense when we start thinking about it.  Let’s look at each option in detail.

New Site Collection

Now when this may not make sense for your on-premises farm solution.  It actually makes quite a bit of sense at the site collection level.  Think about it.  Our goal is providing a separate environment.  Well, pretty much everything you do with SharePoint Online operates within the sandbox of the site collection.  This includes solution packages which are published to the site collection’s solution gallery.  This makes it an ideal way to test customizations such as web parts, lists, content types, and more.  Simply create a new site collection, publish your customizations, test it out.  When you are done, you can even delete the site collection and create a new one when you need to test again.  Your code will not affect anything in the other site collections.

When will this not work?  When your code requires you to make changes at things at the tenant level.  For example, if you are testing some new term sets in the Managed Metadata Service or your solution is querying search.  If you were making use of the BCS, this might not be a good option either.  In essence, it works well for testing things like web parts and the use of the Client Object Model, but not so well for tenant based features.  For those features, it’s time to start looking at spinning up another Office 365 account.

New Office 365 account (tenant)

When you need to ensure that everything is absolutely separate in the cloud, the only way to do it is with another Office 365 account.  Go to try.office365.com and create a new account with a new prefix.  I’d recommend using a prefix that is easy to remember and indicates you are on the test environment.  For example, if your main domain is company.sharepoint.com, create something like companytest.sharepoint.com.  The benefit of creating a new account is that your service applications such as search, BCS, and the Managed Metadata service are truly separate.  You can also rest assure that nothing you do on this account, will affect your production account.

Probably the biggest drawback of this approach is that you have to maintain completely separate user accounts.  This can prove to be an inconvenience but it’s not terrible.  There may be some risk if you are testing permissions within your application, but you just have to deal with that.  Another drawback of this approach is that none of your data from your “production” SharePoint Online site will be present.  You’ll have to either manually upload it, deploy it with code, or look at a third party migration tool.

One other benefit of this approach is that you can just use a trial account.  Trial accounts are good for 30 days before you have to start paying.  This very well may be long enough to get you through your test cycle.  If your test cycle runs longer than that you can always just purchase a few licenses.  Keep in mind that Enterprise plans have a one-year term though.

Summary

These are the options I have came up with for testing customizations in the “cloud”.  I tend to go with just creating a new site collection, but I am sure I will find a change that warrants creating a completely separate account.  Have you come up with any other techniques for testing with SharePoint Online?  Post them here in the comments.

Follow me on twitter: @coreyroth.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is a consultant at Hitachi Consulting specializing in SharePoint and Office 365 for clients in the energy sector. He has more than ten years of experience delivering solutions in the energy, travel, advertising and consumer electronics verticals.

Corey specializes in delivering ECM and search solutions to clients using SharePoint. Corey has always focused on rapid adoption of new Microsoft technologies including Visual Studio 2013, Office 365, and SharePoint.

He is a member of the .NET Mafia (www.dotnetmafia.com) where he blogs about the latest technology and SharePoint. He is dedicated to the community and speaks regularly at user groups and SharePoint Saturdays.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change t...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
industrial company for a multi-year contract initially valued at over $4.0 million. In addition to DataV software, Bsquare will also provide comprehensive systems integration, support and maintenance services. DataV leverages advanced data analytics, predictive reasoning, data-driven diagnostics, and automated orchestration of remediation actions in order to improve asset uptime while reducing service and warranty costs.
Vidyo, Inc., has joined the Alliance for Open Media. The Alliance for Open Media is a non-profit organization working to define and develop media technologies that address the need for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. As a member of the Alliance, Vidyo will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of an open and royalty-free AOMedia Video codec, AV1. Vidyo’s contributions to the organization will bring to bear its long history of expertise in codec technolo...