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I'm creating a development SharePoint 2013 farm for external developers to develop Provider Hosted Addins.

Therefore, developers pc will not be joining our domain.

Is it ok for them to use Visual Studio on their machine to create Provider-hosted apps and deploy on to our SharePoint development environment?

I tried to create the same topology but got error creating the Addins solution:

Cannot connect to the SharePoint site. The project will be set to target SharePoint Online. To change the target version, go to the SharePoint tab on the app for SharePoint project’s properties page, and select a different version. Go to the Site URL property in the properties window to change the target SharePoint site.

Ignore it and hit F5 to run, got another error:

The remote server returned an error: (500) Internal Server Error.

Appreciate your help or advice

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You can definitely develop Provider Hosted Apps on a 'normal' machine - that's the best part about them, in my opinion. However, they will still need to establish connectivity to the server.

The error message you're getting there is complaining that it can't connect to the SharePoint site. It also sounds like the app is targeting SharePoint Online, but you're hosting a SP2013 environment. So to even get the connection working you'll need to do two things:

  1. Change SharePoint project type a. Go to your App solution in Visual Studio - it should have a little SharePoint 'S' in its icon, and have an AppManifest.xml file. Assuming that you started with the MVC5 template, you should have this project and another 'Web' project.

    b. Right-click on the App solution and go to Properties

    c. Go to the SharePoint tab

    d. Change the dropdown to SharePoint 2013: Changing the SharePoint version

  2. Set the Site URL

    a. Open up the Properties window in Visual Studio (hit F4) and click on the App solution

    b. Set Site URL to the URL of your site collection (e.g., http://testsp/sites/mytestsitecollection)Setting the Site URL

This should get your app connecting to your farm properly. Technically speaking your external developers can use this approach just fine.

However, you may also want to consider having the developers work on their own environment and then publish the app package / app web for you to deploy...this will initially take a lot of pain and suffering to get working, what with the need to make sure the Trust approach they use matches yours, but from a governance perspective it will make sure their solution is ready to go to your production environments without any surprises.

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