Tools and environments for developing SharePoint Add-ins
Learn your options for creating a development environment for SharePoint Add-ins.
Note The name "apps for SharePoint" is changing to "SharePoint Add-ins". During the transition, the documentation and the UI of some SharePoint products and Visual Studio tools might still use the term "apps for SharePoint". For details, see New name for apps for Office and SharePoint.
There are two basic patterns for development environments for SharePoint Add-ins:
The test and debugging SharePoint website is in a SharePoint Online website in an Office 365 subscription. Typically, Visual Studio is installed to a local computer, but a cloud-based Visual Studio is also an option.
The test and debugging SharePoint website is on an on-premise, one-server SharePoint farm. Visual Studio is installed on the same computer.
Consider the following:
Almost any add-in you create can be deployed to either SharePoint Online or to on-premise SharePoint farms, regardless of which type of environment you use. As a general rule, add-ins that cannot be deployed to SharePoint Online also cannot be developed with it. Examples: add-ins that require Full Control permissions and add-ins that use the high-trust authorization system.
You can develop both SharePoint-hosted and provider-hosted SharePoint Add-ins, regardless of which type of environment you use.
You can have both on-premise and SharePoint Online test sites.
All things considered, the two options are equally easy to set up.
To create the SharePoint Online environment using an SharePoint Online subscription that you can use for development, see Create a developer site on an existing Office 365 subscription.
To create the on-premise environment, see Set up an on-premises development environment for SharePoint Add-ins.
Note This topic is only concerned with environments for developing SharePoint Add-ins. If you plan to develop farm solutions, see Set up a general development environment for SharePoint. If you plan to do both kinds of development, start with the latter article, and then see Set up an on-premises development environment for SharePoint Add-ins for additional steps you need to develop SharePoint Add-ins.