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whenever i want to start developing my first sharepoint app (add-in), i got confused on the terminologies which are used in the App world mainly :-

  1. App Web

  2. Host Web

  3. App Catalog.

and most of the documentation i find mention something as follow:-

  • App web is where the app is deployed
  • Host web is where the app is installed

which leave my in another question what is meant by app deploy and app install.

now the way i understand things after reading multiple documentations, is as follow:-

  1. as a developer i create let say a sharepoint host app named AppABC, using visual studio. and i generate a .wsp file.
  2. I will create a special site collection named App Catalog, which is where the app can be installed from (similar to apple app store , etc).
  3. then i will install/deploy/upload the .wsp file which represents the App to the app catalog. so now the app can be used inside the site collections
  4. now let say i went to my normal "Team Site" >> "Site content" >> "add app">>"select my AppABC" from the app catalog.
  5. then i can install the app.
  6. then a new sub-site will be created automatically after installing the app which is the app web.

so now if i understand things correctly. the app catalog is the internal marketplace for my app. and the app web is the sub-site which will be created automatically after installing the app from the app catalog site collection.. so what is the host web then ? and is my above 6 points are valid ?

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Below might get you insights, though most of your understanding is correct, just adding couple of more points.

The Host Web is nothing but the SharePoint site where the App is actually installed. - This is your TeamSite where you are adding app in Point$3.

All the resources accessed by a SharePoint web has to be deployed in a different site, named as the App web. - This is automatically created when you are deploying app on TeamSite.

And, the actual site where the app is deployed is called the Host Web - which is your team site.

App web which has different domain does not actually have real navigation, it would be kind of empty site whose whole purpose would be to provide resources to your host web where app would be browsed/used. Many of the SharePoint system pages cannot be used (e.g. the Site Contents page, /_layouts/viewlsts.aspx) and obviously there’s a separation between the app and the end-user’s collaboration stuff (lists and libraries) which is back in the host web.

  • thanks for your explanations .. but is your reply valid for sharepoint hosted app & provider hosted app ? i mean will the Host Web always be my Team site and the app web is the sub-site inside the team site ?? or these will differ in a provider hosted app compared to sharepoint hosted app ? – john Gu Dec 12 '16 at 2:15
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    above one is for SharePoint hosted app, for provider hosted app - app web will be hosted on different server(provider). So you can consider it anywhere other than current site(host web). ... – Siddharth Vaghasia Dec 13 '16 at 3:28
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Here ,

App Web - as you said your'e developing a SharePoint Hosted app from Visual Studio the contents you've added as part of the app like the html pages , scripts , app logo everything will be bundled and you'll be getting a .app file which will be added to the site , here it will create its own web to have all these contents this called App Web.

you can check this by launching the app from the site and checking the the url in the browser , it'll be like

https://app-93832cf268b527.contoso.com/employee/appwebsiteName/

Host Web: It's nothing but the site where we are adding our apps

App Catalog : yes and app catalog is the central place where we are going to upload all the .app files so that these apps will be availabel on all the site collections we are having under a web applications , here we can have only one app catalog per web application,

and in case if you develop Provider Hosted App in SharePoint 2013 you'll get clear picture of APP Web as we'll be hosting it as a web site in a Separate IIS server.

Please refer this for detailed info :https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/fp179925.aspx

  • so you mean if i am using provider hosted app, then the app web will not be a sub-site under the Host web, it will be a normal web site inside IIS server ? – john Gu Dec 12 '16 at 2:12
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    Yes , exactly your'e correct , In case of Provider Hosted app , we'll be hosting the app web as a website in a IIS server separately , it won't create any sub site in Host Web – Esaki Dec 12 '16 at 7:13
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In order to add your add-in to your environment to be available for users to use, you need to put it somewhere, and that place is the app catalog. So it's a separate location (site collection) in your environment to publish your apps.

Now your users are using the main intranet site and they want to add an app to it, this intranet site is the host web. For example, if users are using the root web of the site collection, this this web is the host web. When the app is installed in this web, it will be created as a sub web under this web, but it's hidden from the UI so you can't see it by going to "all site content" (however you can see it if you map it to a network drive and modify files there).

  • thanks for your reply.. so now i need the app catalog for uploading both sharepoint hosted app & also provider hosted app ?? or the app catalog is needed for only certain types of apps ? – john Gu Dec 13 '16 at 1:22
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    It's needed for all types. – Mohamed Derhalli Dec 13 '16 at 1:41
  • thanks for the reply. so now i need to create a single app catalog for my web application. and this app catalog will contain sharepoint hosted apps & provider hosted apps ? is this correct ? – john Gu Dec 13 '16 at 2:46
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    yes, you are correct – Mohamed Derhalli Dec 13 '16 at 5:02

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