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
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit 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. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
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...
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
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.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...