SharePoint Sandboxed Solutions are dead – Here’s how to save existing ones

SharePoint sandboxed solutions were introduced by Microsoft for the first time in SharePoint 2010. Sandboxed solutions enabled site collection users to upload their own custom code solutions. This feature was very useful for users who did not have SharePoint Farm privileges. Under this system, users simply had to develop a sandbox solution using Visual Studio, upload it to the solution gallery of the site collection, and then their solution was ready to start using after activation.

Unfortunately, Microsoft announced deprecation of code based sandboxed solutions on January 14, 2014, and last week announced that they are going to completely remove code-based sandbox solutions.

As part of the removal process, you will not be able to activate any new code-based sandbox solutions.

Additionally, in the coming weeks, Microsoft is going to disable all code-based sandbox solutions from SharePoint Online multi-tenant environments.

Customers can look at the Office 365 Message Center and Service Health Dashboard for details on how to process any exceptions. Some customers have already started getting the below message upon visiting their admin center:

“We’ve detected that you are using a code-based sandbox solution with your tenant account. Please be advised that we’ve moved forward on our plans to remove code-based sandbox solutions as previously announced in 2014.”

Does this change affect me?

Microsoft is only removing Code-Based solutions from SharePoint Online. This change will not have any impact on your business if you have deployed your code-based solutions in an on-premises environment.

Two Types of Sandbox Solutions

There are two types of solutions developed as Sandbox,

  1. Code-based Sandbox Solutions
  2. Declarative Sandbox Solutions or NCSS:
    Declarative Sandbox solutions are those which have only HTML markup and JavaScript code only. These are also known as no-code Sandboxed solutions (NCSS). Declarative Sandbox Solutions will continue to be available for use and have not been deprecated.

SharePoint Sandboxed Solutions Deprecated Chart

Will my Declarative Sandbox Solutions be disabled? How can I save them?

Your Declarative Sandbox solutions can also be disabled if they have a .net assembly file (.dll). Sandbox solution templates in Visual Studio 2015 and Visual Studio 2013 create an assembly (.dll) by default, and for a fully declarative solution, you will need to disable assembly from your solution.

To do this follow these steps:

  1. go to the Visual Studio project in the Solution Explorer and press This will open the property window.
  2. Set the ‘Include Assembly in Package’ to false which is true by default.

How to Save Your Existing Code-Based Sandbox Solutions

Because Microsoft is going to disable all of your existing code-based sandbox solutions, it is important to ensure you have solutions that can achieve similar functionality to replace them. This can be achieved in two ways:

  1. Using a SharePoint Add-In Model
  2. Using a JavaScript code that has multiple JavaScript frameworks (like jQuery, Angular.js, React.js, Node.js) which use SharePoint REST/ OData service calls or the SPService.js library, which is a jQuery based library.

If you have event receivers written in sandbox solution then you will need to use Remote Event Receivers which are available in Provider-Hosted SharePoint Add-in to replace them.

Replacing Sandbox Solutions with SharePoint Add-Ins

SharePoint Add-ins are self-contained extensions of a SharePoint website which run without custom code on a SharePoint Server previously known as ‘Apps for SharePoint’.

SharePoint add-ins can be used to solve many business problems and can be used for most of the major SharePoint components such as pages, lists, workflows, custom content types, list templates, and Web Parts. There are two types of add-ins:

  1. SharePoint Hosted
  2. Provider Hosted

SharePoint Add-ins don't use the SharePoint object model, which includes cloud-based logic and data, SharePoint components, and client-side scripts.

Add-ins are installed from either the Office Store or from the catalog of an organization and can be installed on either on-premises farms or Microsoft SharePoint Online.

How FMT Consultants Can Help You

If you have code-based sandbox solutions running in your SharePoint online environment, then we can help you save them! FMT can help you upgrade your solutions with JavaScript frameworks or by using SharePoint Add-in development.

At FMT we have some of the best development resources on our team who can understand your existing solution quickly so they can start working with minimum guidance on a solution for you.

If you need help or have any questions during this transition, feel free to contact us using the form below and we’d be happy to help.

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