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Office Dev PnP Web Cast – SharePoint Feature Framework vs Remote Provisioning

In this PnP Web Cast we concentrate on the classic discussion around the flexibility and future of the SharePoint feature framework based provisioning models comparing to remote provisioning patterns. Purpose of the web cast was to explain challenges around the classic feature framework based provisioning so that these challenges won’t come as a surprise and also how to potentially avoid them with remote provisioning patterns.

Feature framework usage is fully supported with SharePoint on-premises and in SharePoint Online, but it does have multiple challenges around the life cycle management of your deployments and around farm or tenant level governance. Due these issues, it’s quite common that customers and partners move into code based provisioning, which in many cases is much more reliable and future proof model for your deployment. 

There are two commonly known remote provisioning frameworks available as open source, which can be used to avoid the challenges around the feature framework. Remote provisioning models are also something what we are looking into more closely in the Office 365 engineering to provide native service level capability for replacing the classic patterns. For now, here’s the commonly used frameworks, which are both community and open source initiates. 

Web cast was done with three persons who all have up to 10 years’ hands-on development and consulting experience with SharePoint starting at least from SharePoint 2007 version when feature framework was initially introduced. Vesa used to also own the feature framework specific topics in the legendary Microsoft Certified Master for SharePoint program during the life cycle of the MCM program (from 2008 to 2014).

Web cast presenters: Erwin van Hunen, Bert JansenVesa Juvonen

In the demo Erwin shows how you can apply required changes to existing sites using remote provisioning patterns with PowerShell. More specifically in this case demonstration shows how you can add and manipulate already provisioned lists by adding a new site column to existing list instances cross site collections in your farm or tenant. With feature framework based models, this would also require you to perform changes by running code regardless if they initial lists are provisioned using farm or sandbox solutions.

Presentation used in this web cast is available from

Video at Channel 9.

Addition resources

See following additional links around the covered topics and for additional documentation around the remote provisioning models.

See following guidance article from the PnP guidance library for additional reference around the covered topics.

See following samples from the PnP sample library for additional reference around the covered topics.

  • Provisioning.Framework.Console – Demonstrates usage of the PnP provisioning engine for applying branding and needed customizations to created site collections
  • Provisioning.Framework.Cloud.Async – Provisioning solution which shows how to take advantage of the PnP provisioning engine from Azure Web Job. Simplistic UI, but shows the overall process nicely.
  • PnP Partner Pack – Starter kit for the partners and customers around the site provisioning topics. Adds for example “Save provisioning template” capability to site settings page for site collection and tenant wide templates

What is Office 365 Developer Patterns and Practices (PnP) web cast series? Office 365 Developer Patterns and Practices

We have started this Office 365 Developer Patterns and Practices (PnP) web cast series to cover different patterns, practices and topics around development with Office 365 and SharePoint. Majority of the topics are valid for the Office 365 and SharePoint on-premises. Our objective is to release new around 30-45 minute long web cast each Monday with few slides and live demo on the covered topic. All web casts are published at the PnP Channel 9 video blog with additional references on the existing materials.

PnP is community driven open source project where Microsoft and external community members are sharing their learning’s around implementation practices for Office 365 and SharePoint on-premises (add-in model). Active development and contributions happen our GitHub project under Dev branch and each month there will be a master merge (monthly release) with more comprehensive testing and communications. Latest activities and future plans are covered in our monthly community calls which are open for anyone from the community. Download invite from

This is work done by the community for the community without any actual full time people. It’s been great to find both internal and external people who are willing to assist and share their learning’s for the benefit of others. This way we can build on the common knowledge of us all. Currently program is facilitated by Microsoft, but already at this point we have multiple community members as part of the Core team and we are looking to extend the Core team with more community members.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback around PnP program or this blog post, please use the PnP Yammer group at

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Vesa Juvonen, Senior Program Manager, Office 365, Microsoft