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We've received a tender for a design, this tender includes some hours to convert a SharePoint 2013 design file to a SharePoint Online design. Is there really much required with this? I thought the two were relatively cross-compatible and that a single masterpage layout would work in both instances?

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Having worked a bit with SP Online page layouts now, I think the biggest difference, to the extent that there is one, is that you should not expect SP Online to handle much of anything server-side except for ASP.NET code. Otherwise, the process is pretty much exactly the same: in both cases you're presented with HTML

That being said, you don't actually get direct access to the .aspx page in either Online or regular 2013, so you'll need to either import the whole thing via the Design Manager or recreate it in HTML. All the snippets ought to continue to work, although of course if you're using page fields you might need to recreate them if you didn't also import your corresponding content types and site columns. That would, of course, be an issue if you went from one standalone 2013 farm to another though.

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