Provisioning console application sample

To support the new add-in model, the Office 365 Developer Patterns and Practices (PnP) program introduced a provisioning framework that allows users to:

  • Create custom site templates by simply pointing at a site model.
  • Persist the model as a provisioning template.
  • Apply the custom template to new or existing site collections as needed.

In this sample, we create a basic console application that implements classes in the provisioning PnP Core library to enable the PnP provisioning engine to complete these essential provisioning tasks:

  • Design and model your site customization. This can be a new site design, or you can point to an existing site and save it as a provisioning template.
  • Save and persist the site model as a provisioning template so that you can reuse it.
  • Apply the provisioning template to a new or existing site collection.


This sample walkthrough is a companion to a sample currently available on GitHub at Getting Started with the PnP provisioning engine. The code (Program.cs) and solution files for the sample are available for download. There also is a 20-minute video presentation of this process (with slightly different code) available on the Microsoft Channel 9 site, Getting Started with the PnP provisioning engine.

Create and prepare a Visual Studio project

To begin, create a Visual Studio project. In this sample, for simplicity, we create a basic console application that implements the PnP provisioning engine by using the PnP Core library of the provisioning framework. To support the sample solution, however, we must download and install the provisioning framework for the PnP Core library.

  1. Open Visual Studio, and then choose File > New > Project.

  2. In the New Project Wizard, choose Visual C#, and then choose Console Application.

  3. Name the project Program, and then choose OK. (You can name the project anything you like, but be mindful that this walkthrough will reference the project name as Program.)

  4. Download and install the PnP Core library that is available as a NuGet package at OfficeDevPnP.Core packages.


    There are three versions of the library. One version is the SharePointPnPCoreOnline library, which targets SharePoint Online and Office 365. The other versions are SharePointPnPCore2013 and SharePointPnPCore2016 , which target SharePoint on-premise versions 2013 and 2016 respectively.

  5. Install the NuGet client by going to the NuGet client installer.

  6. After the NuGet client is installed, run the NuGet Package manager. Right-click the References node in the Visual Studio Solution Explorer, and then select Manage NuGet Packages.

  7. In the Package Manager, choose Browse, and then enter the search term SharePoint PnP to expose the SharePointPnPCoreOnline library.

  8. Follow directions to download and install the SharePointPnPCoreOnline library, following the given directions.

    After the PnP Core library is referenced in your Visual Studio project, all library members are available to you as extension methods on existing object instances, for example, web and list instances.

  9. Ensure that your Program.cs file contains all of the following using statements.

     using Microsoft.SharePoint.Client;
     using OfficeDevPnP.Core.Framework.Provisioning.Connectors;
     using OfficeDevPnP.Core.Framework.Provisioning.Model;
     using OfficeDevPnP.Core.Framework.Provisioning.ObjectHandlers;
     using OfficeDevPnP.Core.Framework.Provisioning.Providers.Xml;
     using System;
     using System.Net;
     using System.Security;
     using System.Threading;

Create, extract, and persist the provisioning template

After your project is set up, you can create your site customizations. You can do this manually or by pointing to a site whose design you wish to use. Simply save the chosen site design as a provisioning template, or you can use a mix of both approaches. For the purpose of this sample, we will simply point to an existing site and save its composed look and site artifacts (but not its content) as a provisioning template.

To begin, we need to connect to the site that we wish to model as our provisioning template. Let's start by gathering connection information, including user name, password, and the source URL.

  1. Collect connection information from the user. Note that in the program's Main routine, we do three simple things: collect connection information, GET the provisioning template, and APPLY the provisioning template. The heavy lifting is done by the GetProvisioningTemplate and ApplyProvisioningTemplate methods that we define next.

     static void Main(string[] args)
             ConsoleColor defaultForeground = Console.ForegroundColor;
             // Collect information 
             string templateWebUrl = GetInput("Enter the URL of the template site: ", false, defaultForeground);
             string targetWebUrl = GetInput("Enter the URL of the target site: ", false, defaultForeground);
             string userName = GetInput("Enter your user name:", false, defaultForeground);
             string pwdS = GetInput("Enter your password:", true, defaultForeground);
             SecureString pwd = new SecureString();
             foreach (char c in pwdS.ToCharArray()) pwd.AppendChar(c);
             // GET the template from existing site and serialize
             // Serializing the template for later reuse is optional
             ProvisioningTemplate template = GetProvisioningTemplate(defaultForeground, templateWebUrl, userName, pwd);
             // APPLY the template to new site from 
             ApplyProvisioningTemplate(defaultForeground, targetWebUrl, userName, pwd, template);
             // Pause and modify the UI to indicate that the operation is complete
             Console.ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.White;
             Console.WriteLine("We're done. Press Enter to continue.");
  2. Create and use a private GetInput method to obtain the required user credentials.

     private static string GetInput(string label, bool isPassword, ConsoleColor defaultForeground)
             Console.ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.Green;
             Console.WriteLine("{0} : ", label);
             Console.ForegroundColor = defaultForeground;
             string value = "";
             for (ConsoleKeyInfo keyInfo = Console.ReadKey(true); keyInfo.Key != ConsoleKey.Enter; keyInfo = Console.ReadKey(true))
                 if (keyInfo.Key == ConsoleKey.Backspace)
                     if (value.Length > 0)
                         value = value.Remove(value.Length - 1);
                         Console.SetCursorPosition(Console.CursorLeft - 1, Console.CursorTop);
                         Console.Write(" ");
                         Console.SetCursorPosition(Console.CursorLeft - 1, Console.CursorTop);
                 else if (keyInfo.Key != ConsoleKey.Enter)
                     if (isPassword)
                     value += keyInfo.KeyChar;
             return value;
  3. Point to the site that's the model for our provisioning template. While doing the GET on the source site with a single line of code, look at GetProvisioningTemplate(), which is the GET method we defined.

     private static ProvisioningTemplate GetProvisioningTemplate(ConsoleColor defaultForeground, string webUrl, string userName, SecureString pwd)
             using (var ctx = new ClientContext(webUrl))
                 // ctx.Credentials = new NetworkCredentials(userName, pwd);
                 ctx.Credentials = new SharePointOnlineCredentials(userName, pwd);
                 ctx.RequestTimeout = Timeout.Infinite;
                 // Just to output the site details
                 Web web = ctx.Web;
                 ctx.Load(web, w => w.Title);
                 Console.ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.White;
                 Console.WriteLine("Your site title is:" + ctx.Web.Title);
                 Console.ForegroundColor = defaultForeground;
                 ProvisioningTemplateCreationInformation ptci
                         = new ProvisioningTemplateCreationInformation(ctx.Web);
                 // Create FileSystemConnector to store a temporary copy of the template 
                 ptci.FileConnector = new FileSystemConnector(@"c:\temp\pnpprovisioningdemo", "");
                 ptci.PersistComposedLookFiles = true;
                 ptci.ProgressDelegate = delegate(String message, Int32 progress, Int32 total)
                     // Only to output progress for console UI
                     Console.WriteLine("{0:00}/{1:00} - {2}", progress, total, message);
                 // Execute actual extraction of the template
                 ProvisioningTemplate template = ctx.Web.GetProvisioningTemplate(ptci);
                 // We can serialize this template to save and reuse it
                 // Optional step 
                 XMLTemplateProvider provider =
                         new XMLFileSystemTemplateProvider(@"c:\temp\pnpprovisioningdemo", "");
                 provider.SaveAs(template, "PnPProvisioningDemo.xml");
                 return template;

    In the previous code snippet, we also defined a ProvisioningTemplateCreationInformation variable, pcti. The variable gives us the option to store information about artifacts that we can save along with the template.

  4. Create a file system connector object so that we can store a temporary copy of the provisioning template that we're going to apply to another site.


    This step is optional. It's not required that you serialize the provisioning template to XML. At this stage, the template is simply C# code. Not only is serialization optional, but you also can use whatever serialization format you wish.

  5. Execute the extraction of the provisioning template by using only this single line of code:

    ProvisioningTemplate template = ctx.Web.GetProvisioningTemplate(ptci);
  6. (Optional) Save and store a serialized version of the provisioning template so that you can reuse it. You can serialize the provisioning template in whichever format you prefer. In this sample, we serialized to an XML file named PnPProvisioningDemo.xml. The file itself is an XMLFileSystemTemplateProvider object for which we provided a file system location.

Apply the provisioning template to a new or existing site

After we extract, save, and persist the provisioning template, the next and final step is to apply the provisioning template to a new SharePoint site collection by using the ApplyProvisioningTemplate method.

  1. Obtain credentials to the target site.

     // ctx.Credentials = new NetworkCredentials(userName, pwd);
                 ctx.Credentials = new SharePointOnlineCredentials(userName, pwd);
                 ctx.RequestTimeout = Timeout.Infinite;
  2. Capture site artifacts that were stored using the ProvisioningTemplateCreationInformation method by using the companion method, ProvisioningTemplateApplyingInformation.

     ProvisioningTemplateApplyingInformation ptai
                         = new ProvisioningTemplateApplyingInformation();
                 ptai.ProgressDelegate = delegate(String message, Int32 progress, Int32 total)
                     Console.WriteLine("{0:00}/{1:00} - {2}", progress, total, message);
  3. Get an association to the file connector for the assets.

     // Associate file connector for assets
                 FileSystemConnector connector = new FileSystemConnector(@"c:\temp\pnpprovisioningdemo", "");
                 template.Connector = connector;
  4. (Optional) Because the provisioning template is an object instance, we can write code to customize site artifacts on the fly. In this instance, we're adding a new "contact" list.

     // Because the template is actual object, we can modify this using code as needed
                 template.Lists.Add(new ListInstance()
                     Title = "PnP Sample Contacts",
                     Url = "lists/PnPContacts",
                     TemplateType = (Int32)ListTemplateType.Contacts,
                     EnableAttachments = true
  5. Apply the provisioning template to the new site, again using one line of code.

		web.ApplyProvisioningTemplate(template, ptai);

See also