The SharePoint Framework (SPFx) Is Here!

There’s no official blog post to point to yet (I’ll add it when it appears later), but today is a big day for SharePoint! The new SharePoint Framework is ready for its developer preview.

UPDATE: Here’s the REAL post.

SPFx Workbench To Do Web Part

I’ve been watching the Twitter feed from SharePoint Fest Seattle, and Jeff Teper (@jeffteper) announced the preview in his keynote – or someone else did when they were talking.

In case you missed it, the SharePoint Framework was announced publicly at the big May 4 The Future of SharePoint event in San Francisco.

When it’s available, you will see it on Github/SharePoint:

SharePoint on Github

In case you get confused by all the new terminology for “software release” these days, I’d call the developer preview a pre-alpha. The Microsoft folks would say it’s more solid than that, but they do say that things may change, you should not use it in production (and truthfully, you can’t unless your Office 365 tenant supports it), etc. In other words, it’s ready, but not THAT ready.

As someone who can realistically claim to be one of the early client side developers for SharePoint, I’m really excited about the possibilities here. When we build client side code, we’re giving users of SharePoint a much better user experience (UX) – if we do things right. Rather than the old school “conversation” with the server – and the attendant postbacks – we bring the responsiveness right behind the glass of their device. The UX becomes far more intimate. People are used to this sort of UX from everywhere but classic SharePoint. The consumer Web and most other Web-based enterprise products have been there for a while.

If you’re coming from server side development, I think this Brave New World is going to feel pretty weird for you. What I’d ask is that you give the SPFx more than one chance. If you dig into it today and find things confusing, or the documentation a bit light, or the tooling pretty weird, or the examples not quite up to snuff, stick with it. These are early days.

This is the first time Microsoft has put a development model out there and agreed that it will be how THEY build things in the future. No chicanery; no trickery. In fact, they claim that many of the new “experiences” we are seeing are built with the SharePoint Framework. I have some doubts that they are playing by the rules on this quite yet – the SPFx seems a bit lean to get to the types of “experiences” they are giving us – but they will abide by this pact.

Those of us who were able to attend one of the the Developer Kitchens earlier this year and play with the early versions of the SPFx came away energized and impressed. Not ecstatic and blissful – most of us a realists after all – but energized and impressed. There are many holes to fill and we will encounter bumps in the road. But given the open source foundations of the SPFx, we can help drive this Brave New World forward with Microsoft. Now that’s a new thing, for sure.

 

If you’d like to know more about the SharePoint Framework, check out my previous posts:

9 Comments

  1. Thanks Marc for the post. I am very eager to see how things develop from here for SharePoint and how well this model will stick. Time will tell. Are there any resources so far or hello world examples?

    Also what does that mean to the .app model (such as provider hosted apps)? and SharePoint store solutions? will they phase those out eventually? or are those models not competing and Microsoft plans on supporting both?

    Reply
    • @Karim:

      I’ve added links above to a couple of my earlier posts about SPFx which should help to answer your questions, but quickly:

      • The new SharePoint Github repo has a “Hello World” example, along with quite a few others.
      • The App Model is very much still alive and kicking and very important as a development option. If you want to put something into the store, it’s the App Model, for sure.
      • SPFx is definitely additive, giving us a new development option, not replacing anything else.

      M.

      Reply
  2. Do you know if this will be available immediately for SP2016 On-Prem ? Or would this be part of the upcoming Feature Pack (Which, as I understand requires Software Assurance)

    Reply
  3. Hi Marc, It still does not state that it will be in a Feature Pack, but it sounds like it might since the On_prem release will be in 2017 which is also the expected time frame for the first Feature Pack. I’m trying to Budget for On-Prem 2016 and if we don’t get Software Assurance, then we may not get the Framework.

    Reply
  4. Hi Marc,

    Thanks for the great tutorials on how to create the employee directory on Office365. I was following through the steps with my Office365 tenant space and ended up scratching my head when I was checking the results of the query. The query does show the users in the tenant space, but the information about their sharepoint user profiles is not all of their user information. I have it configured with AzureADConnect to sync my on-prem AD users with the office 365 tenant space and it works and shows all the relevant information in the “People” section of Office365. It seems the sharepoint user profile only brings over a few of those items and is missing things like Company name and mobile number. For the company directory function (where most users have company issued cell phones) the mobile number section is pretty important to display (else they will just pull up the hard copy of the phone list again). Since that information is making it’s way up to office365 via AzureADConnect, is there a way to have this linked to the mobile phone number of the user in AzureAD within the sharepoint user profile?

    Thanks,

    Brian

    Reply
    • @Brian:

      This is a bit out of my depth. I do know that there is a standard set of fields mapped over from AD to the SharePoint User Profiles. You can manage the mapping in the SharePoint admin pages, but I’m not sure how far you can go with it.

      M.

      Reply

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