Recently I discussed how to add a ribbon custom action to a project in Visual Studio (see “Extending the SharePoint 2013 Ribbon Using Visual Studio--Part 1: Creating a custom action for task lists”).  Now, we will install a custom app in a site, making the ribbon custom action available for testing in Task lists.

This scenario starts with a project that has been fleshed out with JavaScript and is able to get information from the host web and display it in the app web.  In addition, the app has been granted the proper permissions to execute its tasks, and has been packaged as an .app file.

Before the app can be installed in SharePoint, you must have access both to a development site and to an App Catalog provisioned in SharePoint 2013.  If you do not yet have a development site, you can obtain a 30-day free trial with Microsoft Office 365.

After you have your development site up and running, follow these steps to provision the App Catalog:

Note: you must have administrator rights to provision the App Catalog

  1. From Office 365, in the ribbon, click the Admin tab (see Figure 1).

  1. Click the SharePoint link (see Figure 2).

  1. In the SharePoint Admin Center, click the apps link (see Figure 3).

  1. In the apps center, click App Catalog (see Figure 4).

  1. Select the radio button for Create a new app catalog site (see Figure 5).

  1. Click OK.
  2. In the Create App Catalog form, fill in the choices with information appropriate to your organization.
  3. Click OK.

You will then be returned to the SharePoint admin center.  It will take some time for the App Catalog to provision, and you will see a waiting icon next to the URL. When the provisioning is complete, click the now active link for the app catalog.  In the site collection properties dialog, click the link again.

Now that you have a working App Catalog you can upload your app and make it available to your users.  Follow these steps to upload your app:

  1. From your App Catalog home page, click Apps for SharePoint (see Figure 6).

  1. In the Apps for SharePoint library, click upload.
  2. From the dialog that opens, browse to the published .app file for your app.
  3. Click OK.

You will see your new app in the Apps for SharePoint library.  Now that the app is available in your catalog, follow these steps to install the app in another site where users can access it.

  1. Navigate to your site.
  2. Click Site Contents.
  3. On the Site Contents page, click add an app (see Figure 7).

  1. On the Your Apps page, click From Your Organization (see Figure 8).

  1. Click the app tile to install.