Microsoft Ignite – Day Three : SPFx, Azure and Power Platforms
Microsoft love developers! This has been evident by the fact that at Ignite this year, the content and sessions for developers so far has been awesome!
There have been some great announcements around SPFx, Power Platform, Graph and Azure development. Let’s take a look at some of the key announcements.
The major announcement in SPFx was that version 1.10 will be released soon. With this, the following features will be available:
- Pre-allocated top and bottom placeholders
- Personal apps support in Teams for apps built with SPFx
- SPFx based Teams tabs will be supported in the native mobile app
- Search query modification which can provide translated search terms and hence required results
- Office AddIns (Outlook Web App for now) can be developed using SPFx
- With this we can keep accessing data from SharePoint like we have been in SPFx and play with that in Outlook web app via AddIns.
- In private preview – support for the “Fluid preview canvas”
- With this fluid components developed using SPFx can be copied and pasted into canvases (office apps) that currently do not understand fluid yet.
Side note: Handling performance issues
If there are any performance issues, then sometimes, it might be because of the region where the tenant is, rather than customisations completed during development. If you a look at the articles mentioned here at https://aka.ms/tunespo more information of the issues related to performance can be discovered.
A word on the Fluid framework
The new Fluid framework was announced at Ignite – it makes collaboration seamless with support for multi author co-authoring on documents and web (e.g. Outlook web app).
Microsoft have seen to it that there is no need for developers to learn new language to start working on Fluid framework. With all the existing web-based language skills and also the SPFx development skills, we can start creating cool solutions in Fluid. As developers we have the opportunity to sign up for the preview via this link – https://aka.ms/FluidDeveloperPreview. Also, Microsoft are welcoming us to contribute Fluid components to their repository.
The preview of Graph explorer is now available to try on https://graph.microsoft.com. This preview shows us some new capabilities like viewing the required permissions for the request – this saves us time by preventing the need to go to the documentation of that request and view the permissions from there.
Another feature in the graph explorer preview is the snippets section in the response. This section shows us code snippets in different languages for the request made.
A new profile resource has been introduced in Graph. This resource gives all the information/attributes around a person in the organisation including some interesting information like anniversaries, interests and skills to name a few. This information can be used to develop some cool webparts in SPFx.
The PowerShell SDK for Graph is now available – which means we can now run PowerShell commands and get information from Graph.
Microsoft Graph constantly keeps improving with new information. We can keep up to date with that here https://aka.ms/graphwharsnew
Microsoft recently announced a Premium plan in Azure functions. With this plan there is no cold start (yay!) and we get premium hardware as well. This plan is a hybrid of consumption plan and the app service plan.
Azure web CLI has is very handy to run scripts related to say deployment of resources in Azure. By navigating to shell.azure.com we get the command window in which we can start typing the commands. One interesting/time saving tip is to type “az interactive” which takes us into interactive mode where we get auto suggestions for commands. Another tip is by typing %% we can limit the scope of the next commands to the resource we need – e.g. %%webapp restricts the scope of the next commands to webapp only and we can type/run commands that are related to only to webapp.
Power Automate (Microsoft Flow earlier)
Microsoft have been releasing some great capabilities in the Power platform in the recent past. One of them is integration with AI builder.
With this we are now able to get information from documents/forms and read them in Power Automate. The AI builder is based on Azure Cognitive services – which requires us to build and train the model with some sample templates. The same AI builder is being used in SharePoint document libraries as well, which helps us in adding metadata to documents very easily based on the contents within the document.
Overcoming the limitations in Power Automate
- We might have seen some limitations in Power Automate around time limit i.e. 30 days for approval etc. These can now be overcome using “Controller pattern” suggested by Sergei Luca and also using the premium “When a record is updated” action.
- Guest users can also be given access in Power Automate now and this would need an Office 365 license for each external guest.
- The roadmap says that there will be capability to resume a paused Power Automate.
Microsoft Ignite loves developers! In just 3 days there have been many new announcements and so many new tools which have been released for developers. The announcements in SPFx are definitely the ones to look forward to as a SharePoint developer. We can start using the capabilities soon and start building some cool solutions around SharePoint, Teams and Office Apps. Do take some time to watch the videos on the Ignite website as the sessions at Ignite have ‘Bolt’ed the knowledge in various aspects so far. Speaking of Bolt…
Ensure your organisation is fully prepared for Office 365 chanages
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SharePoint Developer, Content and Code
Anoop is a SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure Developer with experience across the entire lifecycle of projects, from gathering and analyzing requirements to handing over the solution to managed services. He has 6+ years of experience in SharePoint development and has worked mainly on Office 365, SharePoint Online, SharePoint 2013/2010/2007.
Anoop is a regular contributor to the Office 365 Developer Patterns and Practices project on GitHub. He also writes blog articles dedicated to his experience with SharePoint development and has attended several SharePoint conferences and SharePoint Saturday meet ups.
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