Monday, October 15, 2012

Using the Chrome Control in SharePoint 2013 Apps

In the new SharePoint 2013 App model, there are essentially two ways to host apps – within SharePoint itself or from an external web site (also known as "provider hosted" or "autohosted"). One of the disadvantages of external apps is that they don't look or feel like SharePoint. All the familiar navigation menus and shortcuts are missing, resulting in a stark contrast between the default SharePoint visual experience and whichever app is currently being used unless the app developer went the extra mile (or ten) to style their app.

While this isn't really a bad thing – the app is fully functional and can communicate with SharePoint – it doesn't quite lend itself to a cohesive user experience. To bridge this gap, Microsoft allows developers to import a very basic version of the SharePoint 2013 chrome into their apps without having to manually create matching HTML controls. The functionality for this can be found in the SP.UI.Controls.js file located in the new /_layouts/15 directory. To use the chrome control, first add a reference to SP.UI.Controls.js (make sure you've already loaded the requisite JQuery files and other dependencies), then add an empty <div> to your page markup at or near the top of the page..

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