Microsoft Teams Developer Platform Enhancements Announced for Build 2018
We are excited to join the Office 365 team at Build 2018 to talk about what’s new in the Microsoft Teams developer platform. Last year at Build, we announced our apps platform, unifying tabs, bots, Office 365 Connectors; new capabilities such as messaging extensions; our built-in app store; and our first APIs for Microsoft Graph. Today, we’re building on that foundation by announcing several new features that will be available in Developer Preview and/or released over the next few months:
- An app store for your enterprise line-of-business (LOB) apps
- Microsoft Teams apps listed in AppSource
- Support for Adaptive Cards
- Microsoft Graph APIs for automating the provisioning and lifecycle of teams
- Microsoft Graph APIs for reading messages in channels
- Enhancements to Microsoft Teams App Studio to streamline the development process
- Support for apps in group chats
- Bots sending and receiving documents in 1:1 chat
Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
Teams App Store
In January of this year, we released the Teams apps Store, a great way to find and install Microsoft Teams apps submitted to AppSource. However, not every Microsoft Teams app belongs in AppSource: in particular, Teams apps built to integrate with line-of-business (LOB) apps in your enterprise. The new Microsoft Teams LOB app store feature will allow an Office 365 tenant administrator to upload apps to a custom app catalog and distribute them within the organization. For example, consider a hospital with an app for managing hospital staff shift changes: a Teams app with these features can be loaded into the hospital’s app catalog, allowing hospital staff to access the shift-change application within Teams. Teams apps can be uploaded via PowerShell cmdlets, Microsoft Graph APIs, and even using the Teams client itself:
In other AppSource news, as of today Microsoft Teams apps are listed in, and installable from, AppSource, in addition to the Store inside Teams. Many are listed today, and the rest will appear over the next few weeks.
Last year at Build, Microsoft unveiled an early preview of Adaptive Cards, a cross-platform, open-source framework for exchanging rich, interactive cards. At Build 2018, we’ll show Adaptive Cards in Microsoft Teams:
Support for Adaptive Cards is coming soon to Developer Preview, integrated with bots, custom Connectors, and messaging extensions. Adaptive Cards will soon appear across many other Microsoft products, including Outlook, Windows, and Cortana.
The platform team has been hard at work extending our support for Teams APIs in Microsoft Graph. By this summer, we’ll be releasing the current Teams Graph APIs from preview to general availability, including: create and deleting teams, adding members and owners, adding and removing channels, change team settings. New APIs for cloning a team (including its apps and tabs) and managing enterprise LOB apps via Graph will also be available on graph.microsoft.com/beta soon. Taken together, the first wave of Teams Graph APIs are ideal for automated provisioning of teams/users/channels and managing the lifecycle of these teams on an ongoing basis: one of the top requests from developers, partners, and customers.
Another very common developer wish is APIs for reading the contents of messages in a channel, including threaded messages. We’re granting that wish with the Teams Messaging APIs for Microsoft Graph, which will also be available on graph.microsoft.com/beta soon.
App Studio for Microsoft Teams
At the end of January, we debuted the preview version of the App Studio for Microsoft Teams, a tool that streamlines and automates the development process for creating Microsoft Teams apps, as well as making it easier to create great-looking apps matching the Teams design language. Today, we’re announcing two new features:
- App packages in the cloud. The current version of App Studio stores its app packages locally, specific to a machine and to a specific client: if you use a different machine or move between the desktop and browser versions of Teams, you see different app packages. As of today, app packages will be stored in the cloud, associated with your Office 365 account, so you’ll see the same thing no matter where you use App Studio (that is, like everything else in Teams).
- Inline bot registration. No more switching back and forth from the Bot Framework bot registration portal and remembering to activate the Microsoft Teams channel! This was one of the most error-prone steps in the Teams app development process, and it happened at the worst possible time: when a developer was first getting started. Soon, you can register your bot directly within App Studio, as well as update its messaging endpoint, something that bot developers do on a daily basis during the development process.
Apps in Group Chats
In Microsoft Teams today, users can interact with apps in a channel or individually. Except for a few limited cases, you can’t add tabs to a group chat, and you can’t use bots or messaging extensions in group chats. Soon, this will the ability to use apps in group chats will be available in Developer Preview, and you’ll be able to use Teams apps everywhere.
1:1 Bots Sending and Receiving Documents
While bots can currently send images to users, it’s never been possible to upload a text file, PDF, or Office document to a bot or for a bot to send documents to you. Working with the OneDrive team, we’ve defined a way to do this in a way that upholds the security and compliance standards you expect from Office 365. Soon, the ability for bots to send and receive files in 1:1 chat will be enabled in Developer Preview, enabling developers to create smarter bots to save you time and effort:
At Build today and throughout the week, you’ll learn more about these enhancements to the Microsoft Teams developer platform…and more, including features that are a little further out. In particular, we are excited to announce the first step on the journey towards apps tailored for your enterprise with the Microsoft Teams LOB app store. We invite you to check out the Build 2018 videos on Channel 9, including the sessions we pre-recorded over the past few weeks.