Most of us are “meat and potatoes” people when it comes to the technology we use. We like what we know and we know what we like. (Yes, there are vegan “seitan and potatoes” people, vegetarian “sprouts and potatoes” people, pescatarian “cod and potatoes” people, etc. I’m not trying to leave anyone out.)
Every once in a while, though, someone hands us a new ingredient – something we’ve never seen before, something we’ve never cooked with.
That new ingredient becomes a part of our pantry, and we want to try to cook with it. We’ve probably heard how delicious it is or how it can make an ordinary dish taste amazing.
Sometimes, we get a whole new palette of ingredients. (Many of us love to watch cooking shows for just this reason: we see novel dishes and decide if we’d like to try them at home.)
We need to take a ton of time to figure out what the new ingredients are, how we can work with them, and what we can cook. If we don’t cook with the ingredients pretty often, then we lose the knowledge of how to use them, what ripeness is best.
Writing off something because it tastes bad in one context means we may miss a great use of the ingredient later – a ripe plum tastes so much better than an unripe one. Once someone has eaten an unripe plum, they may decide they hate plums.
But if we can overcome these hurdles and learn about the new ingredients, we can make some incredible dishes.
This is what I think we are going through with SharePoint and Office 365 right now. Microsoft is offering us an entirely new set of ingredients with which to make our stew.
Let me give you an example…
In my “meat and potatoes” way of looking at the world, which has been pretty consistent for the last ten years or so, even though SharePoint and my approaches have evolved, I might use this set of ingredients:
- A dollop of values passed on the query string to a…
- A SharePoint Designer workflow to add notifications on top (Substitute Alerts if your local market doesn’t carry SharePoint Designer)
But there are new ingredients now. Instead we could whip something up with these:
- A SharePoint Framework Web Part (still maybe written with AngularJS or KnockoutJS)
- Creating list items using REST based on the values in our SPFx Web Part
- Microsoft Flow to add in the notifications and any process
- Stir in a pinch of PowerApps – until they are ready
That’s quite a shift. We’re being asked to think about cooking in a very different way. We’ve been through stages of evolution before – new cooking techniques like sous vide (Sandbox Solutions), gelification (Add-In Model, nee App Model), etc. – but this time it’s really different. We’re not even sure if we’re supposed to like everything we taste. Is it just the next wave of kale frenzy or is it an ingredient that will last?
At this point, Microsoft is asking us to dream big, and reach for the previously unimaginable. I think we need to try to do it.
Some of us will be able to cook up truly amazing solutions on the “modern” platform. Don’t be afraid to give it a taste.
In case you didn’t figure it out, this post was inspired by the Netflix show Chef’s Table S3E6, which profiles the Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez. It’s an outstanding series, and this particular episode was stellar.
Also see any volume in the Beautiful Cookbook series.