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How Office 365 App development is changed by SharePoint Framework

03 Dec

If you are a curious developer, you might be wondering how the new SharePoint extension influences the building of Office 365 apps and web parts. Admittedly, Office 365 is one of the most popular business platforms that come with a load of apps that enhance productivity, collaboration, and engagement.

End users of Office 365 are more concerned with the user experience that the methods used to develop the solutions. Contrarily, as an app developer, you pay attention to delivering user-friendly apps and are more concerned with the ease and convenience of the app development process.

SharePoint has been elemental in the building of Microsoft Apps and web parts, but Office 365 app development comes with significant changes. Traditionally, SharePoint developers used server-side approaches such as .NET framework and C# that cannot be deployed in today’s technological trends. Consequently, new development model known as SharePoint Framework (SPFx) was released to accommodate the building of client-side solutions.

SPFx enables a SharePoint developers team to create client-side web parts and applications using standard JavaScript or open JavaScript framework. Besides, it allows for the creation of open-source tools and straightforward integration with SharePoint data.

What does SPHx have to offer when it comes to the development of new apps? Read on to get a better insight into some of the changes to expect from the incorporation of SharePoint Framework in Office 365 app development.

Solutions can be 100% JavaScript

SPFx allows you to develop Office 365 solutions that are 100% based on JavaScript. It’s, therefore, possible to fully execute the solutions a browser like other solutions created with JSOM, Angular, and jQuery.

The development of applications and web parts using the old development models requires software engineers to use heavyweight software such as Microsoft Visual Studio to develop and package the solutions. Nevertheless, since SharePoint framework is entirely based on JavaScript, you can deploy lightweight development tools such as Typescript, Gulp, NPMJS packages, GitHub, Yeoman Generator, and Node.JS.

The mentioned tools have different uses in SPFx. SharePoint Framework uses NPMJS packages to manage the dependencies needed by applications. Gulp helps to automate the gruesome tasks in a development workflow, including copying and minification of JavaScript files. GitHub hosts SPFx’s open-source code for public contribution. So, dedicated SharePoint developers can use GitHub to contribute further to the framework. Typescript is a superset of the JavaScript language and makes it easy for C# application developers to build JavaScript apps.

Trust and flexibility are vital elements in SPFx

SharePoint Framework provides a platform for developing client-side solutions that lack elevated permission present in server-side applications. The “client”, in this respect, refers to a web browser such as Chrome, FireFox, and Explorer. The “server” is a remote web application server that processes requests and sends web pages to the client. Several SharePoint users complain about the platform's sophisticated permission handling. SPFx solutions lack the same levels of security controls as SharePoint add-ins, and this is why developers refer them to as trust client-side solutions.

SPFx provides you with several hosting options. This is where the element of flexibility comes in since you can host SharePoint Framework wherever you wish. You can host an SPFx solution on your server, in the cloud, or SharePoint. The solution features a URL reference that points to the location of the code. This enables easy loading of the script in the browser whenever customization starts.

SPFx eases the integration of SharePoint and the rest of Microsoft family

SharePoint has a significant influence on Microsoft’s collaboration services. Collaboration tools help to increase productivity in companies. You will agree from experience that individual efforts are not enough to attain maximum performance in an organization. Optimum productivity can only be achieved when parties realize their strengths and come together to make the most out of their abilities. Even organizations that hire SharePoint developers expect them to collaborate with the rest of the team to achieve maximum results.

Read the Blog: Learn How SharePoint Can Be Delivered On Digital Transformation

Business solutions such as Office 365 are prevalent in organizations due to their collaboration services. Office 365 features collaboration tools such as Yammer, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Teams, PowerBI, PowerApps, and Groups. Different organizations have varying preferences when it comes to picking collaboration tools. SPFx paves the way for further integration of the Office 365 collaboration services with SharePoint.

SharePoint Framework solutions are mobile-friendly

A common complaint among SharePoint users is the platform’s lack of mobile-friendliness. On the contrary, other Microsoft Office applications such as Excel, PowerPoint, and Word can be easily installed and used on other types of devices. For long, users could only reach SharePoint on their desktops and laptops while accessing other apps on their smartphones and tablets.

Nevertheless, times have changed, and SharePoint Framework is changing the future of SharePoint apps for the better. Via SPFx’s mobile philosophy, SharePoint apps are available on multiple devices like several other Office apps. With the recently released SharePoint mobile app, you can access and customize SharePoint team site so that you and your team remain connected to the apps, data, and content you depend on daily.

Undoubtedly, SharePoint framework is a top priority for anyone looking to build solutions that target mobile users.

Conclusion

Undeniably, SharePoint framework has revolutionalized the development of Office 365 apps significantly. Solutions entirely based on JavaScript allow for the use of lightweight building tools mentioned in the article. The client-side solutions have limited permission handles, unlike farm solutions, and their codes can be hosted in several places.

Most importantly, SPFx has enabled the building of Office apps that can be accessed on mobile phones and tablets, unlike in the past, whereby access to such platform was limited to laptops and desktops. SPFx also influences the continued integration of Office collaboration tools with SharePoint.

It’s due to these reasons that organizations are looking to work with the best SharePoint developers team that understands the complexity of the platform and knows to manipulate its capabilities to support application development, project management, and collaboration.

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