Microsoft updates 'Napa' and 'LightSwitch developer tools

Napa, Agaves, KittyHawk: So many Microsoft development-tool codenames in the Office space. They boil down to new options for coders looking to build Office and SharePoint apps.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

It's codename-bingo day in Microsoft developer tool land today, with the company announcing updates to both "Napa" and "LightSwitch."

Napa is the codename for Microsoft's still-under-development tools for building new Office and SharePoint applications. Microsoft announced a first preview build of the Napa toolset in July 2012.


With Office 2013/New Office, new Office Store apps -- which were codenamed "Agaves" -- can be hosted in the cloud and/or published and sold through the new Office Store. Enterprise IT users also can be privately distribute Napa-developed apps via an internal App Catalog.

Since July, Microsoft has been making continuous updates to Napa -- which Corporate Vice President Soma Somasegar is now describing as a "lightweight, in-browser companion to the full Visual Studio rich client." Among these interim updates have been support for publishing apps to SharePoint; the ability to share projects with friends and/or the community; and a number of editor improvements, Somasegar said.

On November 12, Microsoft officials announced availability of Preview 2 of Napa, which can be downloaded and installed into Visual Studio 2012 (Professional, Premium or Ultimate).

Meanwhile, in other "lightweight" dev-tool news, Microsoft also is making available a second preview of its LightSwitch HTML Client for Visual Studio 2012. This client is now included as part of the Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 release.

LightSwitch (originally codenamed "KittyHawk") is the name for Microsoft's tool for building business applications for the desktop, the Web and the cloud. The HTML rendering capability is aimed at developers interested in building touch-oriented apps using HTML5.

"These apps can be standalone, but with this preview developers can now also quickly build and deploy data-driven apps for SharePoint using the new web standards-based apps model," blogged Somasegar.

Microsoft timed the Preview 2 announcements to coincide with the opening day of its SharePoint Conference 2012 event.

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