[UPDATE] In which Application is my Add-in running?

UPDATE: The code outlined in this post will no longer work with Office Online. See this post for more information: http://stackoverflow.com/a/32851938/678505. Specifically, this block:

Update Dec 5, 2016: We will soon be releasing an API to detect the platform info (partially in response to the fact that the _host_info URL paramater, which folks had unofficially relied on, needed to be recently removed for Office Online). We also have a temporary workaround in anticipation of the forthcoming official API. See “In Excel Online, OfficeJS API is not passing the host_Info_ parameter anymore to Excel Add-In” for information on the API and workaround.

Original post:

In case you missed the news, there was an update to the Office API’s. Version 1.2 was announced at //build and released 2 weeks ago. This API enhancement gets us closer to parity with the native object models used in VBA and VSTO. One interesting aspect of the new Office add-ins (formally known as Apps for Office) is how you can use the same codebase across all the applications. However, as the API becomes richer they are also becoming more product specific. Meaning, there is now the Excel.run() and Word.run() commands (PowerPoint is a little lagging in this area, but it is supposedly on the horizon).  These allow you to do Excel Workbook (or Word document) context specific commands. And there is a lot of other goodies (like promises). But, I digress… wlEmoticon-hotsmile.png

I was working on a proof of concept for my customer when I found that I needed to use the same codebase for a lot of the same work, but in some cases I needed to do something specific in Word and in another, something specific in Excel. I came up with the following function that I placed in my App.js file:

var current;
app.hostTypes = { Word :"Word", PowerPoint :"PowerPoint", Excel :"Excel"};
app.getHost = function () {
	if (current == null) {
		if (Office.context.requirements.isSetSupported('WordApi')) {
			current = app.hostTypes.Word;
		} else if (Office.context.requirements.isSetSupported('ExcelApi')) {
			current = app.hostTypes.Excel;
		} else {
			var host = $.urlParam("_host_Info");
			if (host.toLowerCase().indexOf("word",0) >= 0) {
				current = app.hostTypes.Word;
			} else if (host.toLowerCase().indexOf("excel",0) >= 0) {
				current = app.hostTypes.Excel;
			} else {
				current = app.hostTypes.PowerPoint;
		return current;
	else {
		return current;

To use this you would do this for Word:

            /// WORD
            if (app.getHost() == app.hostTypes.Word) {
                // Word specific code where

Or, this for Excel:

            /// EXCEL
            if (app.getHost() == app.hostTypes.Excel) {
                // Excel specific code here

Debugging with Office Online

Recently I began working on an Office Add-in (formally known as Apps for Office) that interfaces with Excel, PowerPoint and Word online. By default, when you create a new Office Add-in in Visual Studio 2015, it will default to using the installed Office Desktop Client. I have done a lot of work with Mail Apps, but this was the first time I really delved deeply into Office Add-ins with the express need to design against the online versions. After pulling my hair out looking for the settings in the debug tab of the Manifest Project settings, I found this in the Properties page of the Manifest Project file:

When you select the project at the top, you see these properties in the Properties window (F4).

Simply change these as such:

You then specify the URL to your Office 365 subscription. To get this, I logged into my Office 365 developer account from http://office365.com selected my OneDrive folder from the menu and the copied the full path from the address bar and placed it in the field. I got a prompt to log in and then all was good.

The next problem I had was with side loading the application. When I tried to Debug, I got this error in Visual Studio:

Error occurred in deployment step ‘Install app for SharePoint’

According to the documentation and everything I can find, you should not get this error if you are using an Office 365 Developer account. I am, and I am still getting this error. So, I had to go into my account and enable Side loading. I searched and searcha nd then found this blog by Tobias Lekman: https://blog.lekman.com/2012/11/sharepoint-2013-sideloading-of-apps-is.html. He gives two simple enough sounding steps:

  1. Download and install the SharePoint Online Management Shell for PowerShell
  2. Download the script Sideload.ps1 and execute it within the SharePoint Online Management Shell.

Sounds easy. So, I downloaded and installed this: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30359.

Then, I downloaded script and placed it right in my PowerShell folder: http://lekman.codeplex.com/releases/view/98505.

Now, I am the first to admit, I am a developer and not a PowerShell scripter. So I have next to no experience with PowerShell. When I ran the script I got an error:

Essentially there is an execution policy preventing my PowerShell script from running. So, I went to the link provided: https://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh847748.aspx. From there I found I needed to run this command:

After, I did that I was able to run the Sideload.ps file, it asked for my url, username and password and then setup my side to allow the side load for testing.

When I returned to Visual Studio and clicked Run, it ran and installed my app.