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Microsoft unveils Napa cloud-based development tools for Office 365

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Microsoft has unveiled Napa, a cloud-based toolset for Office and SharePoint apps.

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Microsoft's new version of Office comes with much stronger cloud integration, and the company hopes to pair it with a new generation of apps from developers using cloud-friendly software. Today, it announced what it calls the cloud app model, focused on flexible web standards and Napa, a new development toolset. Cloud-based SharePoint app Napa is currently available to anyone using the Microsoft Office 365 Developer Preview, and it's meant to work in conjunction with Visual Studio 2012, a more full-featured development tool. Once the apps are developed, they can be released through the Office Store, a new catalog of extensions for users.

It's already possible to develop apps that extend the functionality of Office or SharePoint, and these older methods will keep working, though developers won't be able to submit apps built with them to the Office Store. With this system, however, Microsoft hopes to unify the process of building apps and lower the barrier for entry.