Office 365 Developer News from Microsoft Ignite 2019

30,000+ people at a single conference amazes me. The shear size of the food halls prepped and ready to go is epic. Navigating the conference schedule is daunting – there’s over 1000 sessions and it’s so easy to be present at the conference and yet miss a lot of announcements. While I don’t pretend to have heard all the news, here’s my roundup of key announcements for the Office 365 developer.

Microsoft 365 Developer Certification (MS-600) – this is the announcement I was most happy to hear. Finally we have a certification specifically for Microsoft 365 Developers! This certification covers Identity, Graph API, SharePoint development, Teams development, Office Add-ins development. The exam is currently still in beta but it looks like we will be getting updated training material on the Microsoft Learn website. Here’s an early exam guide of study resources put together by Brett McKenzie.

Office Scripts for Excel – this is the modern version of macros. Macros were a staple for allowing end-users to make repetitive tasks more automated. It’s great to see Excel getting a modern web based version, and from what I’ve seen it looks pretty slick.

The output of a macro is Office.js code using the Excel API. I see this as being a fast way to punch out some Office.js code rather than writing it by hand.

Microsoft Graph Enhancements – there are a few things to get excited about with the Graph.

  • Search Connectors – External data can now be ingested into the Graph by building Search Connectors
  • Search API – Search across workloads in the Graph has now been unified
  • PowerShell SDK – Preview of a PowerShell SDK for the Graph was announced. Also discovered that Geoffrey Snover (the man behind PowerShell) is now part of the team working on Microsoft Graph 😎
  • Microsoft Graph Toolkit – announced as GA, meaning Microsoft will support development on top of the toolkit which is a huge milestone for developers being able to use it confidently.
  • Graph Explorer Rebuilt – I’ve loved this tool since it was released in the very early days of the Microsoft Graph. It’s now been rebuilt and with MSAL at the core the handling of permissions has been vastly improved.

Rather than reading blog posts, try listening to the Microsoft 365 Developer Podcast where the key people from the Graph team talk about the announcements, it’s a great episode. Side note: if you are a Microsoft 365 Developer this podcast is a great way to stay up to date on the latest news. I’m a long time listener, it’s great for the work commute.

Yina Arenas, Darrel Miller, Jeremy Thake photo

Teams Development – We saw a few announcements in this area. Teams had a huge presence at the conference and there was a lot of functionality enhancements but the development platform didn’t have the same number of announcements (unless I missed them!).

  • Pin personal app to the left navigation rail – YAY, finally you can build a personal app that users will actually see! There’s also a way for administrators to roll pinned apps out to users as well.
  • Support for applications in the new Private Channels – A big announcement was Private Channels, it’s good to hear that support for developing applications in Private Channels is coming soon too.
  • Resource based consent to Teams via Graph – this has been sorely needed. At the moment granting an app consent to Teams data has meant granting the app access to ALL Teams within the org. This has been an adoption blocker for some and it’s great to see the seamless new resource specific consent implementation.

Fluid Framework – this is an interesting one, opening up the framework to developers to build real-time collaborative experiences. Although at this stage it’s a case of the technology looks impressive, but what scenarios can we apply this to in order to realize business value and take advantage of it. Definitely a technology to keep your developer eye on.

During the conference I wrote a live blog on the Microsoft Teams Messaging Extensions Deep Dive session by Wictor Wilen. This session has a great reference GitHub library which I’d recommend looking at if you are development Messaging Extensions.

Microsoft 365 App Awards – During the conference the best apps in the Microsoft 365 eco-system were awarded. I was super excited that our OnePlaceMail App won the People’s Choice award and 2nd Best Integration. I encourage you to check out all the other apps as these represent the best apps available at the moment and could be solving business challenges you currently face.

Microsoft app award winners 2019 OnePlaceMail. Cameron Dwyer, James Fox, Colin Wood

And here’s some photos from the conference.

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