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Update on Autohosted Apps Preview program RRS feed

  • Question

  • Can we get some feedback from the team on how, if at all, the recent announcement of closing of the "Autohosted Apps Preview program" affects LightSwitch apps that are currently "autohosted" in O365 (or the new SharePoint-enabled incarnation of "Cloud Business Apps") please?

    The announcement that this was a "preview program" that was to be "closed" with 2 weeks to a months notice was in fact "news" to me. We've based nearly our entire business model on this functionality, & were completely unaware of the "preview" nature of the service.

    The instructions in the How to: Convert an autohosted app for SharePoint to a provider-hosted app article do not seem to take SharePoint-enabled LightSwitch apps into account.

    Are we affected by this closure? If so, can we have some LightSwitch-specific instructions on the recommended conversion procedure please?


    Yann Duran
         - Co-Author of Pro Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011
         - Author of the  LightSwitch Central Blog

    FREE Download: Luminous Tools for LightSwitch
    (a Visual Studio productivity extension for LightSwitch)
     
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    Saturday, May 17, 2014 5:44 AM
    Moderator

Answers

All replies

  • Here's the announcement that Yann refers to :

    http://blogs.office.com/2014/05/16/update-on-autohosted-apps-preview-program/

    Wow this is news to me as well. Cannot say I'm sad to see autohosted go, but it is strange for MSFT to announce a closure before the alternative is available. Why wouldn't they just improve the autohosted solution like the article says is the intention?

    For Lightswitch, the transition should be about the same as the article in Yann's post.

    Create Azure Web Service

    Create Azure SQL database 

    Get ClientId & Secret

    Use the URLs, Ids & Creds from above in LS pub wiz as a provider-hosted app.

    The missing part is how to get your data out of autohosted netherland...this was always the reason I don't use autohosted....namely, where's MY data?

    To get the connstring from a published autohosted app...I'd assume you have to use the undocumented function (AppInstance.RetrieveAppDatabaseConnectionString ) at runtime.

    Then attach to it to create a SSDT dacpac and use that as the database project in the LS solution.  Now somehow move the existing data to your new Azure.

    I agree some specific guidance from LS team in this area would be great.

    TIA,

    Josh

    Monday, May 19, 2014 11:21 AM
  • Will it even be possible to roll-out an update to a LightSwitch SharePoint autohosted app after 30th June, or debug, publish to catalog or what exactly?

    "After June 30th, developers will not be able to create new autohosted apps in SharePoint."

    What exactly does that imply? Then...

    "Apps that are currently running in the service will not be affected or shut down. "

    There is a gap and lots of ambiguity between 'create new...' and 'currently running...'. This is really not clear and could imply that we cannot roll-out an update which would be very inconvenient.

    Dave


    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.


    • Edited by Xpert360 Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:02 PM
    Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:51 AM
  • Dave,  All good questions...Can you believe no team members have responded to this in a month...and now we're a couple weeks away with no advice?

    I'm guessing the whole thing is a false deadline.  Surely there's an exception for MSAccess Web apps, they won't just make that whole product 'stop working'.  Perhaps the same is true for LS.  Perhaps nothing will change at all, it's just to encourage SP App devs to use provider-hosted.

    I don't blame them for claiming to shut it down.  Imagine how many websites and databases are out there in auto-hosted netherland just cuz someone published once - never to be used again.  That's a lot of server space, with no way to reclaim unused apps.

    Anyway, sure would be good to get some official advice on this.

    Josh


    PS...I emailed Elizabeth Maher a couple weeks ago about this as a blog idea...she said it's a good idea - blogs are planned a few weeks out, but they may do it.
    • Edited by joshbooker Thursday, June 12, 2014 1:12 PM PS...
    Thursday, June 12, 2014 1:06 PM
  • I don't blame them for claiming to shut it down.  Imagine how many websites and databases are out there in auto-hosted netherland just cuz someone published once - never to be used again.  That's a lot of server space, with no way to reclaim unused apps.

    I think that was a major (if not the only) factor.

    No problem with that with Provider Hosted because "you" are paying...


    Unleash the Power - Get the LightSwitch HTML Client book

    http://LightSwitchHelpWebsite.com

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 5:26 PM
  • I thought the main reason for discontinuing auto hosted apps is due to not being able to control the quality of those apps which in turn might destabilize the SP system. With the provider hosted model your app runs on your own infrastructure and cannot affect the SP system. Well, that is my understanding anyway.

    Regards, Xander. My Blog


    • Edited by novascape Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:09 PM
    Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:08 PM
  • Hi Xander,

    The new App Model in SharePoint 2013 is the change that forces apps to run outside of SharePoint thus preventing changes that might destabilize the system.  This is as opposed to code running on the SharePoint server as was the case with pre-2013 solutions. 

    Both Auto-Hosted and Provider-Hosted are apps which utilize the new app model and are hosted outside of SharePoint. 

    The difference is deployment...

    Auto-Hosted apps are deployed when the app is 'installed' on a SharePoint Online site.  At that point the web package is automatically deployed to azurewebsites.net and the database, if any, is also automatically deployed to Azure SQL.  Neither dev nor user has control of where these go, we know it's Azure, but it's out of our control. Yet on the plus side it's automatic upon installing the app in sharepoint.

    Provider-Hosted apps are deployed by devs to anywhere (Azure or somewhere else) and the act of installing the app on a SharePoint site simply makes the app available through the SP interface.

    So after deployment, a Provider App deployed to Azure is identical to a Auto app except with the former you know where your web site and data are located - the latter is in auto-hosted netherland.

    All this said, I've no clue why they cancelled Auto-Hosted.  The claim is because feedback said devs want more control so MSFT want to make it better.  I find it strange they would cancel before releasing the better version.  It would be nice to have a balance of automatic deployment and control...hopfully that's to come.

    HTH,

    Josh

    Friday, June 13, 2014 12:23 AM
  • Are we ever likely to get a response on this by 30th June? A straight NO is acceptable, at least we wont have false hope.

    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014 2:30 PM
  • @Josh - thanks so much for the clear explanation of the auto-hosted vs provider-hosted models and the new app model in SP 2013.

    I suppose it depends a lot on the size and complexity of the app, but I would personally prefer the provider-hosted model where I can have control over access/updates/performance of the apps by always hosting the app on my own infrastructure (be that Azure or otherwise).


    Regards, Xander. My Blog

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014 10:07 PM
  • I too prefer provider because of full control. The best would be full control and auto deployment. That's my hope for auto hosted vNext.
    Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:37 PM
  • There are many large changes to Microsoft services with the 30-Jun deadline date. We are dreading coming into the office on 1-Jul, it is a case of what will be broken as opposed to will everything be working.

    I am assuming that nobody really knows what will work and not work come 1st July re: autohosted SP apps, and that is why we cannot get answers anywhere we have tried.

    We too much prefer provider hosted but that is a lot of hassle for quick demos, examples and samples. So we have this auto-hosted void from 1-Jul to some time later in the year.

    If anything above is incorrect do please let us know, thanks.

    Dave


    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 9:28 AM
  • We have been told, albeit in comments of the announcement blog, that existing auto hosted apps will continue to work and they will be updatable until further notice. Vague, I know, but somewhat reassuring I suppose.
    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 11:29 AM
  • The biggest info lacking is how to get data out of the 'black box' after conversion to provider hosted.
    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 11:33 AM
  • I found this important but unsettling piece of clarification as mentioned above:

    "Apps that are currently running in the service will not be affected or shut down. "

    Rolling an update out to an existing auto-hosted app inevitably stops it 'running'. Mmm...


    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 11:40 AM
  • I am expecting that an existing deployed auto-hosted app instance will continue running. However, I wanted clarification that though it is not one sense a 'New auto-hosted app', any debugging, update or additional SP site deployment inevitable will cause re-provisioning.

    So existing auto-hosted apps running is quite likely the end of the road for them.

    If we could get confirmation then we have some hours work to schedule to sort out our instances.

    Is that too much to ask?


    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 11:47 AM
  • So existing auto-hosted apps running is quite likely the end of the road for them.

    If we could get confirmation then we have some hours work to schedule to sort out our instances.

    Is that too much to ask?

    Dave,

    That's definitely not too much to ask. 

    I was going to try a conversion from AH to PH to see about how to move the production data between them.  But guess what, I cannot install an new autohosted app on any dev sites, tenants, app catalog, nothing.  I get dreaded 'Sorry, Something went wrong' error in SP.  I've tried two brand new CBAs with only one intrinsic table.  The apps debug fine so I believe the error likely has to do with auto provisioning.  Unless it's something to do with my tenancies. 

    I give up til/if we get guidance.  If you want to upload my app and see whether it installs on your site it's here:

    https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=FDB63D30F166F70B%21213

    I guess the best we can do is keep this thread at the top of the forum and hope for guidance.

    Sorry,

    Josh

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 1:20 PM
  • Thanks Josh!

    I have a portfolio of open service request with bug reports from portal.microsoft.com thorugh Office365 subscriptions + web site through MPN subscription + website.

    Breaking service changes starting rolling out in early June so you experience does not surprise me. We are very concerned. Where possible we are backing up everything offline. We feel quite sad about it all.


    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 1:27 PM
  • I have found online service request typically goes like this:  'we will get back to you in 3 days'....then after 4 days...'we are working on it and will get back to you in 3 more days.' 

    You sometimes get help by calling support line and force them to escalate so you can talk to someone in Texas immediately.  Rather than wait to your request to escalate from an overwhelmed queue in Timbuktu.

    While your waiting, though, here are a couple threads you can enjoy:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/msonline/en-US/639cfdf1-1e48-4cda-8917-f0b83e9192b9/office-365-support-is-not-up-to-the-task

    http://www.jeremythake.com/2013/09/office-365-sharepoint-online-the-problems-service-updates-breaking-apis/

    Sorry,

    Josh

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 1:40 PM
  • I just uploaded and deployed an auto-hosted LightSwitch NorthWind OData test app to our dev SP site and it worked!

    I have 2 updates pending in VS2013:

    MSSS 2014 Update for db tooling 12.0.30919.1

    Windows Azure SDK 2.3

    We deemed them too risky to deploy on our day-to-day machines at the moment.


    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:33 PM
  • Josh, I uploaded and deployed your test CBA to our online SP demo site and it works and shows a 'Contacts' page. Not sure that will be any help to you but if you need us to check s/w or service versions let me know. Dave

    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:48 PM
  • Thanks Dave.  That is a help because it rules out issues with the .app & VS.  Something is wrong with my SPO sites.  If you could check the version on the site that works for you that'd be great.

    To do so, paste this after your sharepoint.com domain in your browser:

    /_vti_pvt/service.cnf

    like so:

    https://domain.sharepoint.com/_vti_pvt/service.cnf

    Mine is:

    vti_encoding:SR|utf8-nl
    vti_extenderversion:SR|16.0.0.1205

    TIA,

    Josh

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:56 PM
  • vti_encoding:SR|utf8-nl
    vti_extenderversion:SR|16.0.0.1210

    It is not under our control, we are totally at the whim of the cloud service gods.


    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.


    • Edited by Xpert360 Wednesday, June 18, 2014 3:03 PM
    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 3:03 PM
  • When I said 'its working' I should have added:

    I did not say its perfect, garbage like this appears often this month but is it worth bothering to report it at this time. We thought not.

    Dave


    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 3:11 PM
  • Thanks Dave.  I too can install my app on a new E3 trial with version 16.0.0.1210.  So either something is wrong with 16.0.0.1205 or it's something specific to my tenancy.

    If anyone else reading this has SPO version 16.0.0.1205 and a moment to upload my app then that would be awesome.

    Check you version here:

    https://<yourDomain>.sharepoint.com/_vti_pvt/service.cnf

    Get my app here and upload to your devsite:

    https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=FDB63D30F166F70B%21213

    Oh the things we do... just to determine whether we should subject ourselves to a support request...

    At least now I can continue my efforts using the trial.

    Thanks,

    Josh

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 3:52 PM
  • I am following up with some people to get answers to your questions.  I will create a TechNet wiki page so it's easier to see all the questions with their answers.

    Josh, can you email me a correlation id for the error that you are getting when you try to upload your app? david (dot) kidder (at) microsoft (dot) com


    David Kidder | Senior SDET | Microsoft | LightSwitch

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 4:12 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Dave K.

    Correlation ID:
    0e1f9c9c-50a2-1000-65b1-ddc7140c5302

    Date and
    Time: 6/18/2014 9:16:41 AM

    • Edited by joshbooker Wednesday, June 18, 2014 4:18 PM
    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 4:17 PM
  • Dave K.,

    Here's another error: 

    New tenancy: Trial E3 created new Site Collection - Dev Site template

    Uploaded, installed, deployed CBA (one intrinsic table + common screen set)

    It worked.

    Now it will not 'remove' from Site Contents

    In App Details | Install Errors I get the following:

    Correlation ID: e80b000c-30e4-44b7-875f-f65b33d5e425

    The database server is temporarily unavailable.

    Details: Cannot drop the database 'db_90abfa4d_d31c_4ee4_970f_c5eb1d374b6a', because it does not exist or you do not have permission.

    Now when I debug in VS I get:

    'Skipping the uninstall step because the app for SharePoint is in an invalid state and cannot be uninstalled.'

    'Error occurred in deployment step 'Install app for SharePoint': An instance of this App already exists at the specified location.
      0 0 CBA7.SharePoint'

    PS...Please let us know when you get the wiki started ... we can help post questions there for you.

    TIA,

    Josh


    • Edited by joshbooker Wednesday, June 18, 2014 5:17 PM
    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 5:14 PM
  • When I said 'its working' I should have added:

    I did not say its perfect, garbage like this appears often this month but is it worth bothering to report it at this time. We thought not.

    Dave


    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.

    I only get that on the development server, do you get it when you test it on a real SharePoint (E1 and above) server?

    The need to test outside the development SharePoint site is why I wrote: Creating A SharePoint Online Testing Site.


    Unleash the Power - Get the LightSwitch HTML Client book

    http://LightSwitchHelpWebsite.com

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 5:20 PM
  • Nice article Michael.  FYI: additionally you can enable 'side loading' on your App Catalog site which will allow you to publish directly to App Catalog from VS.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/officeapps/archive/2013/12/10/enable-app-sideloading-in-your-non-developer-site-collection.aspx

    HTH,

    Josh

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 6:20 PM
  • I have created a TechNet Wiki page with some of the questions asked here.  Please add additional questions (and answers if you have them) to this article:

    Autohosted SharePoint App Deprecation Frequently Asked Questions

    I am marking this as answer to get it toward the top of the thread.  Please continue to have discussion as needed on this thread.

    If you have autohosted apps that you need to get the DATA out of, please upvote the question I posted here:

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/vstudio/en-US/7ac350a5-bc3a-4202-9e1d-c225d37bc2bb/survey-do-you-need-to-migrate-data-from-an-autohosted-sharepoint-app?forum=lightswitch


    David Kidder | Senior SDET | Microsoft | LightSwitch



    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 6:54 PM
    Moderator
  • @Dave B

    "After June 30th, developers will not be able to create new autohosted apps in SharePoint."

    What exactly does that imply? Then...

    After June 30th, you will no longer to be able to upload app packages that were published as Autohosted (i.e. only Provider-hosted app packages can be uploaded).  Visual Studio will be updated in the near future to make it clear that Autohosted is no longer supported (e.g. Publish Wizards)

    There is a gap and lots of ambiguity between 'create new...' and 'currently running...'. This is really not clear and could imply that we cannot roll-out an update which would be very inconvenient.

    "Create new" is definitely the wrong wording, it should be "upload new...".  "Currently running" means apps that have been deployed as Autohosted (i.e. you published and deployed an autohosted app package)


    David Kidder | Senior SDET | Microsoft | LightSwitch

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 7:18 PM
    Moderator
  • Big thanks Dave!

    We have been fire-fighting a lot of problems this month so any help, like this, is really appreciated. To complete it our customers have started reporting corrupt LightSwitch projects to us and we are diagnosing and isolating the problems now: looks like a VS2013 bug as opposed to LightSwitch but investigating further. The good news is there is a workaround and manual fixes. We will report once isolated.

    Cheers

    Dave


    Dave Baker | AIDE for LightSwitch | Xpert360 blog | twitter : @xpert360 | Xpert360 website | Opinions are my own. For better forums, remember to mark posts as helpful/answer.

    Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:47 AM