MCSD: SharePoint Certification Officially Announced

MCSD SharePoint Applications

There have been rumors running around for months about what exams would be required to earn the Microsoft Certified Solution Developer certification for SharePoint 2013.  MS Learning officially added MCSD: SharePoint to their site today.  You can see all the SharePoint certifications, including MCSD, here.

The Two SharePoint specific Development exams haven’t been released yet, but should be available later this summer.  In the meantime you can get started on the two non-SharePoint specific certification exams.

Another point that should be noted.  This announcement continues the trend started with the SharePoint Microsoft Certified Masters certification.  Certifications will now be time constrained.  You must recertify every two years to maintain the MCSD: SharePoint certification.  This is also true for MCSM: SharePoint (three years) and MCSE: SharePoint (two years).  This recertification requirement reflects Microsoft’s move away from doing major specific releases, like 2007, 2010, and 2013, to a more continuous release cycle with quarterly service releases for Office 365.  You can expect to see On-premise SharePoint going to a more continuous evolution over the next several years also.  These new certs anticipate that development in both the Online and On-Premise environments.

Make App Icons that Change with a Composed Look

Animated

Recently a developer friend was wondering why all the built-in App Icons changed colors on his SharePoint 2013 site when he applied a different color scheme using the “Composed Looks” functionality,but Icons for custom apps he had deployed remained their original color.  The screenshot below shows the Site Contents page both before (Left Side) and after a Theme has been applied using a Composed Look (Right Side).  You can see that all the Icons on the page changed except the last one on the right.  This is the App that I installed using the Visual Studio 2012 SharePoint Hosted App project.  So the question is Why do all the other Icons change?

Appssidebyside

The first theory was that the App Icons were being recolored using the Theme CSS support that has been available since SharePoint 2010.  But the ability to recolor an image using CSS has always been limited to background images loaded through CSS.  These Icons are loaded using an <IMG> element so there is no way to specify the image in CSS and no way to recolor it.

After using IE’s Developer toolbar to examine the HTML and CSS on the pages above I found that the image itself doesn’t get recolored. But the <a> (anchor tag) that surrounds the Icon is a square rectangle occupying the space behind each image that has its background set to one of the theme colors.  You can see in the screenshot below that the <a> tag has its background set to a class of “ms-storefront-appiconspan’ which is set to an rgb color from a themable css file.  But why does changing the background behind the Icon change the color of the Icon?

appIconBackground

The trick is that the Icon file itself is a transparent PNG that is the same size, 90 X 90 pixels, as the anchor tag with the background color behind it.  That way the background color shows through the Icon and appears to recolor the icon itself.  So let’s see what happens to my Visual Studio project if I replace the blue in my App Icon with a Transparent background.  the image below shows the original Icon on the left and the new transparent Icon on the right after I cut the background out using Paint.Net.

appIcons

After uploading the new Icon image into my visual Studio project and redeploying the custom app you can see that the custom app Icon changes colors along with the Theme in the screenshot below.  If you restrict your Icon to white images and text on a transparent background then your Icon should look like it fits no matter what Composed Look is applied to your site.

AppAfter

Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 ships full RTM

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If you who have been learning to develop the new SharePoint 2013 Apps then you know that the toolset for doing that in Visual Studio 2012 didn’t ship a finished RTM version when SharePoint 2013 shipped its RTM version in November.  Instead we’ve all still been working on a Preview 2 version.  Well no longer! The final version of Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio shipped today.  You can read more about the announcement here:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/somasegar/archive/2013/03/04/now-available-office-developer-tools-for-visual-studio-2012.aspx 

And more importantly you can download the new tools via web platform Installer from the following URL:

http://aka.ms/OfficeDevToolsForVS2012