• Rahul Prabhune

How are add-ins for SharePoint and SharePoint sites connected?

Site owners can add apps for SharePoint to their sites. If an app contains SharePoint components, those components are stored in a subweb of the site that is automatically created when you install the app. Apps have their own, isolated URLs, which are separate from the URL for the site that contains the app. If the app is Provider-hosted the app components are stored in those locations.

What is the URL for an app for SharePoint?

By default, apps are deployed to their own web site in a special, isolated domain name, instead of in the same domain name as your farm. Processes run under that domain name and do not affect the SharePoint sites. This difference in domain names provides a layer of isolation for the apps. The use of a different domain name from the SharePoint sites prevents cross-site scripting between the apps and sites and unauthorized access to users' data.

Each installation of an app has a unique URL in your environment. You determine the template for that URL (by specifying a domain name and an app prefix), and then app URLs are automatically generated based on that template. Paths for the apps are based on the URL for the site where they are installed. When you install an app to a site, a subweb of that site is created to host the app content. The subweb for the app is hierarchically below the site collection, but has an isolated unique host header instead of being under the site's URL. The following diagram shows the relationship between the site's URL and the app's


Illustration of URL for an app for SharePoint

In this diagram, the Main SharePoint Site is the site on which the user installed the app. The App1 SharePoint Site is a subweb of the Main site that contains the app and its components. The URL for the App1 SharePoint site is based on that of the Main SharePoint site. However, it is in a different domain, has a prefix-apphash at the beginning, and has an app name at the end for the subweb name. The prefix-apphash part of the URL is designed to support multi-tenant environments. In a multi-tenant environment, each tenant has its name that is combined with the apphash to provide a unique domain name for the app. If you are not in a multi-tenant environment, you can use the same app prefix for all URLs.

Use and benefits of apps for SharePoint

The apps for SharePoint allow users to add quick functionality to their site without your intervention. Unlike templates, features, and solutions, which an IT administrator must deploy, site owners can add apps for SharePoint to their sites or remove them. Because apps for SharePoint are limited in scope to a subweb and have an isolated URL, they do not interact with the rest of your farm or open your environment to cross-site scripting risks.

Your organization can develop its own apps for SharePoint. You can make apps for SharePoint available from the SharePoint Store, and you can make these apps available in the App Catalog so that users know which apps for SharePoint are approved for use in your environment. Users can easily update apps for SharePoint with new versions when they become available.