Disappearing Add-in Parts in Office 365

Disappearing Add-in Parts in Office 365

Whenever you are working with add-ins for SharePoint changes are high that you are using the add-in Parts in one way or another. As add-ins provide great value when working in the context of SharePoint itself. However recently we found ourselves fighting a rather strange issue. During the configuration of a intranet solution we added several add-In Parts to different sites and pages. During the timespan of the project some of the Add-in parts where disappearing from their pages. Once the add-in disappeared it was no longer possible to add it to the page again.

When investigating we found a workaround in uninstalling and re-installing the add-in. While this would solve the issue, such a solution is not really feasible. As it turns out it was related to the recycle bin. When uninstalling an Add-in from SharePoint you end up with an entry in the recycle bin.

Add-in in the Recyle Bin

Once an add-in is deleted and added to the recycle bin it will stay there for 93 days. After those 93 days the item will be deleted. When a user would clean up their recycle bin the items are moved to the second-stage recycle bin. If you delete an add-in you can also end up with multiple entries that look the same. You might have noticed when installing a new version of an add-in the GUID of the app web might change. Each add-in instance will be unique, so that’s why you might have multiple entries.

When looking at the second-stage recycle bin you will also see that it contains not only the ‘add-in’ but a separate node for the add-in web as well.

Add-in in the Seconcd-Stage Recyle Bin


And that is where it gets interesting. As soon as an item is deleted from the second-stage recycle bin it will also delete any add-in parts that are configured on any pages in that site collection. So back to our case we added some add-ins to the webs, deleted them and later added them again. Just to find out that, exactly 93 days later, it turns out the add-in parts where deleted from the pages.

So whenever you are configuring a tenant, make sure that you delete the add-ins from both the recycle bin and the second-stage recycle bin before adding the same add-in again. It really screws up your day if the add-in itself is present in the site or web. Yet the add-in part is gone and you have no option to add it again without deleting and reinstalling the add-in.

There is 1 comment for this article
  1. Tom Brand at 11:13

    We (and our customers) are experiencing exact the same problem and already found the same solution. There's not much known in the SP community about this problem. And why is Microsoft not fixing it!!

    If the add-in is a SharePoint hosted add-in with its own content it could be a hell of a job to uninstall/re-install your add-in again to preserve your data into the Add-in web. We had one customer serving this problem. It's not that easy to make a back-up/restore of the content into the Add-in web.

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