What is the difference between cloud business apps vs SharePoint online apps and When the use of one better than other?

1 Answer 1


A very good question, which is hard to answer. However, from what I’ve read, Cloud Business Apps uses LightSwitch technologies, which is wider in its scope and is possible to download to a client and run on the client desktop or a mobile device. SharePoint Apps don’t have that “download to client” possibility since its iframed in a SharePoint page as an app part, which can use Silverlight (XAML).

This difference in technology makes the business scope more clear when to use a SharePoint App and when to use a Cloud Business App.

Cloud Business Apps

Create Cloud Business Apps in Visual Studio

By using the Cloud Business App template in Visual Studio, you can quickly and easily create line-of-business apps that are hosted on SharePoint for Office 365 and based on Visual Studio LightSwitch technologies. Users can download and run cloud business apps on desktop computers and most mobile devices.

Understanding LightSwitch

Visual Studio LightSwitch is a development environment designed to simplify and shorten the development of businesses applications and data services. LightSwitch makes it easy to create data-centric business applications that can consume a variety of data sources and create clients that can run on a variety of devices. With LightSwitch you can:

  • Build HTML5-based apps that run on all modern devices
  • Consume and aggregate multiple data sources like databases, SharePoint and OData
  • Eliminate plumbing code and focus on what makes your application unique
  • Have flexible deployment and cloud hosting options including Azure and Office 365
  • Trust that your solution is built on best-of-breed technologies and practices

SharePoint Apps

Create Apps for SharePoint by using Visual Studio

By using Visual Studio, you can create apps for SharePoint, which are solutions that have a small footprint and that use standards-based technologies such as HTML5, JavaScript, and OAuth. You typically design one of these apps to help users complete a specific task or related set of tasks. For example, you can create an app to track travel expenses or maintain a team sign-up sheet.

What you can do in an app for SharePoint > Using SharePoint Components

Almost every major type of SharePoint component can be part of an app for SharePoint, including custom content types, list templates, list instances, pages, workflows, event handlers, and many more. You can also have built-in Web Parts, including a Silverlight Web Part that hosts a Silverlight application and an app part that wraps an IFrame.

  • what is better if i will use office 365 API to access Calender,mail and so on.
    – eaam
    Jun 4, 2014 at 15:47
  • @eaam Targeting mail and calendar I'd go with the Cloud Business App since it feels more open and less restricted.
    – Benny Skogberg
    Jun 4, 2014 at 19:02
  • Great explanation! Could you please comment if Cloud Business Apps are an option even today? I have VS 17 Community edition and i don't see the this template!
    – Vamsi K K
    Sep 21, 2017 at 20:03

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