Ignite 2022: Transforming collaboration with low and pro code dev tools
There’s a paradigm shift happening in the way that developers build apps – driven by changes in technology, accelerated by global events. The shift is towards a new kind of app – one that is built for collaboration by design, that are seamless and borderless. An app that meets users right in the flow of their work. And with 80,000 line of business apps in use by our customers, plus 1,600 partner-built apps in its app store, Microsoft Teams is powering this transformation, and continually driving innovation with new low and pro code tools and technology.
This blog is the companion to Ignite session BRK32 presented by Graham Sheldon, CVP Teams Product. It covers all the topics included there as well as several additional items that simply didn’t fit into that session’s allotted time.
Seamless workflows, everywhere
We’re always looking for ways to make staying in the flow of your work easier, and more intuitive. Let’s start with updates on link unfurling.
In our breakout session, we will show you zero-install link unfurling, which helps Teams users share a rich, interactive preview of the work they’re doing in your app, even before they have discovered your Teams app by simply copying and pasting a URL into a Teams chat. It’s designed to help you expand your app’s visibility, discoverability, and usage by our mutual customers.
We are also excited to announce Public Preview for link unfurling in Outlook. Similar to the Teams experience, Outlook users can insert links that unfurl into rich, actionable, preview cards for additional context and workflow completion without context switching.
Link unfurling is available in both Outlook for Web and Outlook for Windows to users who are enrolled in the Microsoft 365 Targeted Release program or are members of the Office Insiders program and have Outlook for Windows installed from the Beta Channel. For more detailed information, we’ve got a full blog for you to explore.
One of the experiences enabled by link unfurling is Collaborative Stageview. This lets your users immediately start interacting with rich shared content- example a shared project board or analytics report – without leaving Teams, and Share to Meeting, which, as the name suggests, enables the spontaneous creation of a Teams meeting in which to quicky share your app’s content.
We’re pleased to announce that zero install link unfurling and Share to Meeting are now in Public Preview. If you start implementing Stage View today, you’ll get Collaborative Stageview features by the end of this calendar year – with no additional development work needed.
Adaptive Cards play an essential role in workflows. They’re great for integrating and accelerating asynchronous, collaborative workflows inside of Teams. Today, a new generation of Adaptive Cards is on the horizon, with the introduction of Adaptive Card-based Loop components. We announced the developer private preview of this technology in the Spring at Build 2022. We are sharing examples of how partners like SAP are already starting to adopt this technology. We’re pleased to announce that the end user public preview for Adaptive Card-based Loop components will begin in the first quarter of 2023.
Solutions developing Adaptive Card-based Loop component experiences.
Hybrid meetings, transformed
If you were with us at Build back in May, you may remember that we introduced our new Teams Live Share SDK. Teams Live Share is a way to build multi-user, real-time collaboration into any app to co-watch, co-create, and co-edit content in meetings.
When you use Teams Live Share, your app gets access to a Teams-aware, Teams-hosted, and fully managed Azure Fluid Relay instance. This includes Teams-optimized Fluid container creation and management, live Fluid-based distributed data structures with cleanup, and Media synchronization libraries for audio and video and intelligent audio ducking.
Now – we know that collaborating in a hybrid workplace presents new challenges. For example, familiar tools like whiteboards aren’t always available. That’s why we’re excited to announce Live Share Canvas. It’s a new package that brings shared pens, highlighters, laser pointers, and cursors to any Teams Live Share application with just a few lines of code.
We’re also happy to announce that developers using the Live Share SDK in Public Preview can now use our Teams Live Canvas package and also publish their apps to the Teams App Store – to reach customers all over the world.
Building apps for Teams – and beyond
One of the most exciting items included in Teams Toolkit is the Teams JS SDK 2.0 and Teams 1.14 manifest. This makes it possible to build Teams pages and message extension apps that can extend to Outlook and Microsoft 365 apps – without making any code changes. What’s more, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve started to roll out the public preview of functionality that extends these same Teams apps to Android devices. Availability is starting with participants in the Office Insiders program who have Office Mobile for Android from the Beta Channel.
We are already extending our own Microsoft apps like Power BI to mobile, bringing the full power of a modern data experience extended to mobile devices. We are working with partners like Survey Monkey, ServiceNow, Mural and Zoho to extend their solutions. We expect to make this same capability available on Outlook mobile in the near future. Stay tuned to our blog for future updates and announcements!
Solutions offering support for Android devices
If you are SharePoint Framework (SPFx) developer, we’ve further invested on maximizing the value of your investments by enabling the SPFx solutions to extend to Outlook and the Microsoft 365 app, to help your solution reach more users than ever before. This option will be available for both existing and new SPFx solutions built with Microsoft Teams Toolkit or with the SPFx Yeoman generator.
And finally, developers will find Fluent UI 9.0 in the toolkit. It’s the latest version of our UX framework and it’s generally available. Fluent 9.0 improves your app’s performance, accessibility, and responsiveness, and supports light, dark and high contrast modes – enabling you to build consistent and engaging experiences for your customers.
Office development updates
We continue to invest in core productivity experiences, adding features requested by our add-in developer community. We’re announcing updates to the JS APIs for Word, Excel, and Outlook. In the new Word JS API 1.14, we’ve added support for developers building tools that work with custom document creation – adding new APIs for bookmarks, change tracking, comments, custom XML parts, fields, and merging and splitting table cells.
Meanwhile, developers working with the new Excel JS API 1.6 will find new additions, including expanded Data Types and custom functions capabilities. In addition to tools for pro devs, Excel power users will now find CRUD support provided for Office Scripts on Windows and Mac.
There’s something for Outlook developers too, with the Outlook JS API 1.12 requirement set. We’ve added a couple key features including event-based activation, and new send mode options that use event triggers. Separately, we’ve added delegated support for on-premises Exchange services and support for selecting multiple items in Explorer view.
All of these updates are generally available with the exception of item multiselect support, which is in public preview. Be sure to read this blog for a more detailed look at all that’s new in the Office developer space. To roll up your sleeves and try these new JS APIs, make sure to install Script Lab.
Low code tools for fusion development
In addition to news about Adaptive Card-based loop components for pro devs, we’re introducing low code Cards in Power Platform that allow domain experts to create and send engaging “mini-apps” that – like their pro code counterparts – can even copy from Teams into Outlook.
Building Cards is like everything else in Power Platform – it starts off in a low-code designer and uses a simple drag-and-drop interface. When used in combination with features like data connectors, buttons, and PowerFx for logic, it’s easier and faster than ever to build powerful custom workflows for your organization.
We’re also announcing the public preview of Collaboration Controls for Power Apps. For us, it’s the next step in creating a seamless experience for organizations using Power Apps in Teams. Now, makers can simply drag-and-drop their favorite Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Graph API services directly into their own model-driven Power Apps – without the need for pro-developer tools.
Embedding collaboration anywhere
We’ve talked about how to use pro and low code tools to build Apps that integrate with Teams. You can also embed Teams experiences into your app. We’ve got a couple announcements to this end.
Teams is used for communication and collaboration in organizations around the world, and many of our customers want to extend familiar Teams functionality out to their customers. We’re pleased to announce that Azure Communications Services support for Teams Users is now Generally Available, meaning that you can now use Azure Communication Services to build stand-alone apps that integrate seamlessly with your Teams users’ audio, video, and telephony services. A powerful example of this comes to us from Sweden, where the engineers at Lynk & Co have integrated Teams and Azure Communication Services into their latest product. Let’s take a look:
Microsoft Graph data for analytics and more
To help us better understand how work is changing and evolving, we need rich organizational insights and analytics, built on big data sets. So – we introduced Microsoft Graph Data Connect. It’s a secure, high-throughput connector designed to copy select Microsoft 365 datasets into your Azure tenant.
We’re excited to announce that Microsoft Graph Data Connect is now integrated with Azure Synapse Analytics. With just one click, you can move Microsoft 365 datasets into Azure Synapse to harness its powerful BI and Machine Learning capabilities.
Learn more at Rohan Kumar’s session: Innovate faster and achieve greater agility with the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform
In addition to our new Azure Synapse integration, we’re making it easier for ISVs to build and sell solutions. To do this, we’ve made two significant updates. First, we’ve redesigned the approval and consent process to make it easy for Admins to review and consent to data access requests from ISVs, and second, we’ve made it possible for Azure billing to flow directly to the ISV instead of the customer.
However, streamlining access for ISVs doesn’t mean sacrificing governance or security. In fact, we’re announcing end-to-end audit logging in Microsoft Compliance Center (MCC) so that administrators can better enforce data usage guidelines and mitigate the risk of data leakage. In addition to granular consent and compliance monitoring tools, we’re happy to announce that now by default, Microsoft 365 data is fully encrypted. By making this a default setting, we’re helping to ensure that there is no inadvertent leakage of data in transit or at rest.
In addition to making data encryption a default setting, we’re doing the same thing for data anonymization. Going forward, we will offer enhanced user identity obfuscation by default to help preserve end user privacy, while still enabling organizations to run their analytics on top of obfuscated data.
We’re also helping you accelerate your “time to insights” by offering two new solution templates. One template, powered by the newly released SharePoint datasets in preview, helps you understand information sharing in your organization, to create better production boundaries. The other template, powered by Azure AD, Teams and Outlook datasets, focuses on Organizational Network Analysis to help you visualize connectivity within your organization.
Finally, it’s great to see the diversity of customers and partners who are using Microsoft Graph Data Connect to gather insights and intelligence to transform organizational understanding.
Partners and customers working with Microsoft Graph Data Connect
Read this detailed blog.
Microsoft Graph APIs are essential for any application that requires real-time, transactional access to Microsoft 365 data and capabilities. It continues to grow and bring new value to developers. We’re pleased to announce the general availability of several new interactive messaging features to the Microsoft Teams endpoint on Microsoft Graph. We’ve got a full blog with all the details you need to get started working with these APIs.
For some time now, we’ve heard the developer community ask for updates to the Microsoft Graph Planner API. Well, we were listening. Next month, we’ll introduce several new enhancements to these APIs that will make it easier than ever to work with Tasks in your organization. To learn more about these new capabilities, take a look at this detailed blog.
Lastly, there are new security and management capabilities to check out for SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams. To learn more, check out this blog.
Trust is essential to ecosystem adoption and customer data protection. Microsoft 365 certification is our process for evaluating apps’ trustworthiness, so we want to help developers accelerate the certification process without compromising its rigor.
When building apps using Azure services, we recommend using the App Compliance Automation Tool (ACAT) for Microsoft 365 which will be available in public preview next month. ACAT is easy to use and automates evaluation of a significant number of controls in the app certification process.
In ACAT, you can see a summary view of your app compliance status against our certification requirements. You can then drill into individual reports to identify what remediation actions are required. ACAT can also help you manage your app’s compliance on an ongoing basis. In the event your app falls out of compliance, you can respond quickly. We’ve made it easy to export your compliance test results to share with auditors as a PDF. Check out details here.
App administration and management capabilities are also essential. So, we’re offering the public preview of App management policy to help you customize your app management policies to meet the needs of your organization for app security and hygiene, App Health Recommendations, which you’ll find in the Azure AD recommendations portal, to give you more visibility and insight into app usage to support actions like removing unused applications or retiring stale application credentials and App Usage and Insights help you better mitigate security risks and prevent potential security incidents by helping you determine when an app was last used, its permission mode, and the context in which it was used.
There’s a lot on this year’s news plate. But it’s small compared to the opportunity we have to change the way the world collaborates. So – start exploring all we have to offer. We look forward to seeing you at Build 2023. Until then, Happy collaborating, and happy coding. We can’t wait to see what you build next.
The Microsoft 365 developer platform team