Using the SharePoint Framework with Teams to build simple custom apps

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Microsoft’s SharePoint collaboration platform is not new, however its newest evolution is taking it to new locations and to new customers. A part of that change is a brand new method of constructing purposes, one which’s taking SharePoint improvement to Microsoft’s Groups chat-based collaboration setting and even into blended actuality with HoloLens.

SharePoint apps aren’t advanced; they’re typically front-ends to line-of-business instruments, implementing a bit of workflow. Working inside SharePoint internet pages, they seem to be a click on away out of your work and might be constructed into frequent workflows, including internet elements to present content material. With Groups now a key a part of Microsoft’s collaboration technique, starting its rollout out to enterprise Workplace 365 accounts, it is maybe time to contemplate mixing the 2 applied sciences utilizing Groups’ upcoming help for the SharePoint Framework (SPFx) improvement setting.

Introducing SPFx

The SharePoint Framework takes the online half mannequin utilized in earlier variations of SharePoint and updates it for the trendy internet and trendy internet browsers. As an alternative of utilizing iFrames and server-side instruments, it is primarily based on code that runs in customers’ browsers. Code is written in JavaScript and works as a part of a web page’s doc object mannequin, and can be utilized alongside your selection of JavaScript improvement frameworks — so you should use SPFx alongside React or Angular.

You continue to get the choice of utilizing iFrames to host internet elements, however now as a safety device: by internet hosting an SPFx internet half in an iFrame you are now isolating it from the remainder of your software, giving it completely different permissions from the remainder of an app.

SEE: Microsoft SharePoint: A information for enterprise professionals (Tech Professional Analysis)

Latest releases of SPFx (from 1.7 onward) do not solely help SharePoint; their internet elements will render inside Microsoft Groups, working as apps in Groups tabs. It is a helpful possibility, as your present SharePoint apps can rapidly change into Groups apps. Customers will not must log into SharePoint to see and use them; they will be out there alongside common workforce conversations and collaboration, put in from the Groups App Catalog.

Whereas it is at the moment in preview, the method is simple sufficient which you can begin constructing new apps, or changing present SPFx code, prepared for launch. If that you must take a look at your code, Microsoft permits you to sideload apps into Groups.

Crucial query is not how you are going to construct your app, it is how you are going into hyperlink it into the way in which your customers work. Initially SPFx apps will render as separate tabs in Groups, so customers might want to explicitly set up them of their consumer and swap to and from them when they should entry data or full duties. A lot of Groups’ software platform is concentrated on coping with ‘micro-tasks’ — fast approvals or queries that may be completed alongside different duties. It is a good philosophy to make use of when constructing your SPFx apps, drilling down into easy actions that solely require a fast in-and-out from a person.

Constructing SPFx code for Groups

Constructing a brand new app is not onerous. A lot of the instruments you want load utilizing acquainted internet improvement tooling like npm and Yeoman. You may begin by putting in a default internet half in a neighborhood listing, utilizing your regular editor to work with the ensuing recordsdata. By default you may now discover a Groups folder in each new internet half you create, making it rather a lot simpler to edit and create new tabs.

Yeoman constructs the scaffolding in your app, utilizing a easy set of questions and solutions from its SharePoint Generator.

Picture: Microsoft

Initially you may use Yeoman to arrange your improvement setting. It is a command-line device, however you’ll be able to run it from inside Visible Studio Code utilizing its built-in terminal. Yeoman constructs the scaffolding in your app, utilizing a easy set of questions and solutions from its SharePoint Generator. After stepping by way of the Yeoman script, and when it is obtained all the knowledge it wants, it’s going to create the listing construction for a SPFx internet half and obtain and set up any essential dependencies.

A lot of what that you must deal with working a SPFx app in Groups is dealt with by the manifest.json file within the Groups listing. You may discover it alongside pattern icons that you will must replace in your app. Replace it with the main points of your app and its icons.

If you’re able to edit your internet half code you may first want to make sure that it may work inside a Groups tab, by including a variable to carry the Groups context. This will likely be initialised while you begin the app, checking whether or not it is working in Groups or not. You may use it to point out content material that is solely rendered in Groups, and to make sure that SharePoint-specific options aren’t out there to Groups customers. Utilizing it as a context swap permits you to have one set of SPFx code that may deal with each Groups and SharePoint deployments, protecting software upkeep to a minimal.

Code working inside SPFx internet elements is written utilizing your selection of internet framework and elements, and as soon as it is prepared you’ll be able to bundle it up and ship it to a Groups app catalogue. Microsoft’s SPFx tooling makes use of gulp to construct your code and bundle it up for distribution. As quickly because it’s packaged, it is prepared for add. Initially you’ll be able to add it to your SharePoint apps folder, both in an on-premises SharePoint set up or by way of Workplace 365. You may then must set your app’s belief settings, earlier than making it out there to your Groups customers.

sharepoint-frameworkteams-tab.pngsharepoint-frameworkteams-tab.png

A customized tab added to the Microsoft Groups channel.

Picture: Microsoft

Integrating SPFx and Groups together with your line-of-business apps

SPFx goes additional than integrating your Groups purposes with SharePoint, constructing on the rising Microsoft Graph APIs to combine with Workplace 365 and Microsoft 365. Like older SharePoint improvement applied sciences, you should use internet elements from Microsoft, third events, a rising set of open-source group elements, or customized elements developed by your personal SharePoint improvement workforce.

Extra advanced code might be written in TypeScript, Microsoft’s JavaScript-based language, which provides you sturdy typing and instruments that make it simpler to construct and handle large-scale internet purposes. Utilizing TypeScript will make it simpler for server-side builders who’ve been utilizing C# to construct SharePoint purposes to transition to client-side in-browser code, as TypeScript builds on many acquainted C# improvement ideas.

SEE: Home windows 10 energy suggestions: Secret shortcuts to your favourite settings (Tech Professional Analysis)

Utilizing SPFx 1.7 now you can additionally use internet elements to deal with information connections, so you’ll be able to extract data from a web page and ship it again to a server, and hyperlink completely different internet elements in the identical web page. Groups apps can use them to construct advanced views, for instance mixing a picker and a view management in the identical web page. It is easy to think about a device for builders that makes use of this strategy to record Azure DevOps pull requests for a challenge, with a view that reveals each code and feedback.

The connection between Groups and SharePoint goes each methods, as it’s also possible to host Groups Tabs in SharePoint. Microsoft appears to lastly perceive that people have very completely different approaches to collaboration, and so its instruments want to supply entry to the identical purposes by way of customers’ most popular channels, whether or not that is in a browser or in a dialog.

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