Update on Modern Document Libraries and Extensibility

SharePoint team

Screenshot of the Modern Document Library Experience

We’re excited about the modern document library experience coming to Office 365, and we’ve seen great response from customers using it in first release so far.  We do know that even positive change can cause a certain amount of apprehension, though, so we’d like to provide some clarity about our plans for rolling out this new experience – especially with respect to extensibility and customization.  In particular, we’re writing today to make clear our commitment to extensibility in our modern experiences going forward and continuity for customers taking advantage of extensibility in classic experiences for the foreseeable future.  SharePoint succeeds together with our partner community.  It’s been true from the start, and it’s part of our DNA.  We remain committed to a thriving SharePoint community that tailors our products for maximum productivity with each customer, which means we remain committed to an extensible experience.

The new document library will continue to evolve quickly to support more intelligent and productive web and mobile experiences.  Expect innovation in the core experiences around views, metadata, mobility, and accessibility, as well as performance improvements based on work in the underlying UX framework.  We are also committed to building more customization capabilities for business users, making it possible to build tailored modern document libraries experiences without writing code.

In order to support this sort of rapid iteration without breaking the customizations that our customers and partners have built on top of the experience, we need to develop cleaner, clearer contracts between our out-of-the-box experiences and the points of extensibility supported by the platform.  We also want to provide administrators with insight and control over the scripts that are running in their pages.  Over the course of time, we’ll drive toward the same richness of customization in the modern experience as is currently supported in the classic experience, but with more explicit contracts that help maintain stability as we innovate on the core user experiences in SharePoint.   

We’ve already made some good progress here.  Theming, global navigation links, and URL-based custom actions that extend the ribbon and context menus are already supported in the modern document library experience.  This ensures that customers and partners taking advantage of these features can use the modern document library experience without compromising their customizations.

There are some extensibility scenarios that aren’t yet supported by the modern document library experience, including conditional formatting of document library fields and the use of arbitrary script blocks to customize document library rendering.  Because our ecosystem and product extensibility are core priorities for us, we will continue working to enable these scenarios in the modern experience.  In the meantime, it’s important for us to maintain continuity for our existing customers.  

As a result, we will continue to make the classic document library experience available to all customers through a simple opt-out experience, even as we roll the modern experience out globally.  Furthermore, when we detect that an environment is taking advantage of one of these not-yet-supported extensibility mechanisms, we will automatically default to the classic experience to avoid disrupting their workflow.  We will continue to support both of these mitigations until the modern library experience supports the same level of customization as the classic one and partners have had ample time to adapt their solutions to the new experience.  We’ll verify that fact through customer and partner feedback as well as careful examination of usage telemetry.   As more information on modern document library extensibility becomes available, we’ll update our existing articles and posts, and deliver complete documentation and guidance.  Feedback and community engagement are important to how we design and release our products, and we welcome your feedback and comments here, on Twitter (@SharePoint and @OfficeDev), and through UserVoice.

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