I don't understand why Microsoft calls Document Libraries and Custom Lists apps in SharePoint 2013 Preview - doesn't it contradicts the concept of isolation of an app from the parent site? It's my understanding that one can not achieve the same level of integration into the parent SharePoint site within an app. Is it just confusing terminology that Microsoft used for custom lists and document libraries or am I missing something about app capabilities in SharePoint 2013?

3 Answers 3


Microsoft tries to make SharePoint understandable for all users.

So SharePoint is simplified into three concepts:

  • People, All the social stuff and permissions
  • Themes, The look and feel, branding
  • Apps, Everything else

The apps you create don't get the same integration into the "Host Web" as list/document libraries, but that's in fact to keep things similar:

  • The moment you delete a list every trace of it disappears
  • When you delete/uninstalls an app then every trace of it disappears because the real SharePoint manifestation is contained in an App Web

To many end users Lists and Libraries are custom functionality similar to apps.

Your "real" app can show itself in the "Host Web" in three ways.

  • The link to the full page experience (which is the App Web, or remote site)
  • Custom Actions (Which can be menu items or ribbon buttons)
  • App Parts (which can show anything) similar to Web Parts

And if your app gets the permissions it can in fact create lists, libraries and anything you want on the "Host Web", but if you want to sell your app as 3rd party you should probably try to limit your permission requests.

  • 1
    OK, this makes sense - sounds like they tried to simplify the terminology for the end-users but, as part of that, made it more confusing for developers :) Oct 1, 2012 at 19:24

The content of a HostWeb in the form of Document Libraries and lists should remain just that. But a list template or doc library template or custom view for a list/library could be an app. Then it would be transferable to different webs. It definitely seems confusing!


As far as I understand it, in Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 Preview, everything is an app. OOTB lists and libraries are now referred to as apps as well, so the fact that a custom list is called that is not surprising.

Now, this is still different from an app on the app store, but the terminology of the product still refers to lists and libraries as apps.

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