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I attended my first Office Developer Bootcamp on Friday last week. I wasn’t 100% sure of what to expect and had a little extra pressure as I was also presenting on Office Add-in development and assisting with the labs.
I ended up having a really fun day. Lots of great conversations had during the bootcamp at Microsoft office at North Ryde. I was a little surprised that the questions weren’t all technical and I fielded a few questions more related to the business side of commercialising add-ins. Thanks to all those that attended and to the great people behind organising the day (Ashish, Amr, John)
Here’s my slide deck from the ‘Developing Office Add-ins‘ talk.
As the dust settles on Microsoft Ignite for another year I’m left going back over my notes and recalling discussions I had for all those key announcements, advice and snippets of gold that will have a real impact for Office developers.
If you are looking for a high level list of announcements made at the conference, the Ignite Book of News is a good place to start although it doesn’t cover many of the announcements that were made in the Office Developer area – this book covers a lot of the Azure announcements, which most Office developers will have a mild interest in (we have to host our code somewhere!)
Here’s some of my favourite announcements:
- Call Microsoft Graph and Web APIs and deploy Extensions across your SharePoint sites
- Deploy your web parts and application pages to Microsoft Teams
- Connect across components with dynamic data capabilities
- Deliver complete applications with application pages
- Harness more of SharePoint with new Microsoft Graph APIs
- Managed access to Microsoft Graph (data connect to bulk export to Azure subscription)
- Notifications API
- Dynamics is now in Microsoft Graph
- New PowerApps templates
- Security API
- Microsoft Teams, Messages, Calendars, Files, and Folders
- In preview but suitable for production use
- Capable of reaching both v1 and v2 services
I thought this years conference was very well run and the volume of people moving about the conference centre wasn’t overwhelming. I had a lot of fun meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. It’s great to have such knowledgeable Microsoft staff accessible on the expo hall floor (both from a Marketing and Engineering side) to discuss particular scenarios, technologies, ad bounce ideas off.
Wonder what a Microsoft 1:1 hackathon looks like? OnePlace Solutions Teams/Graph Engagement Experience
I was fortunate enough to be involved in a 1:1 hack engagement with Microsoft recently where OnePlace Solutions hosted some eager Microsoft engineers for a week long engagement. The intention was to see how we could harness some of Microsoft’s new Teams extensibility options and the Graph API, and for Microsoft to identify limitations or areas for improvement.
The format of the event:
- brainstorming possible ideas ahead of the event itself
- discussion and selection of a few possible ideas
- splitting up into teams and scoping what were would try to achieve within the scope of the hack
- working in a compressed scrum process (daily stand-ups, task refinement and retros)
- present to a wider audience on the last day of the hack to show what had been achieved and the business benefit
It was amazing to see how quickly the Microsoft engineers were absorbed into our development team, brought up to speed with our existing code-base, and starting to deliver functionality.
The real takeaway and reason for writing this article it just to let everyone know what an awesome opportunity these engagements are from Microsoft, a bit of what you can expect and that I highly recommend getting involved if the opportunity arises.
What did I see as the biggest benefits to our business of doing this hack with Microsoft?
The tips, tricks and work pattern knowledge sharing that occurred only comes when you truly try to work together on a project and aren’t just academically sharing knowledge. We all work in different ways and by running the hack almost as a true project (in a condensed form) there is a lot more than just the coding that is being discussed. VSTS, scoping, work item tracking, design white-boarding sessions, daily stand ups, retros, git source control, review of pull requests. All this is outside of the actual coding and using the technology being hacked on, but it is also a critical piece of developing in an efficient, scalable and measurable way.
Accelerated and focused learning on new technologies. The speed of getting across where a technology like Teams extensibility is up to, what’s possible when applying to problems we are trying to solve, and that hard first mile of understanding the frameworks, dependencies, and tooling to get the first hello world skeleton running.
Outside of the technology it’s a great opportunity to meet and build relationships with people who share a similar passion and spend a lot of their time working to solve similar problems. At OnePlace Solutions we are a passionate bunch of technologists that enjoy working in a social and supportive environment – from what I’ve experienced the hack is a perfect match for the way we work, with Microsoft bringing the same mindset, energy and support to the hack. We spent as much time laughing and discussing topics outside of technology as we did on it. At the end of the day we are social creatures and I found the hack was a perfect environment that bought people together with a desire to want to work together on a common goal, to challenge and push each other to do more in a fun and supportive way, and have a good laugh at the same time. Having access to global Microsoft resources to get definitive answers quickly, removed the amount of wasted time and frustration which allowed productivity, enthusiasm and energy levels to remain high.
We dedicate an amount of time each sprint to R&D, which usually involves educating ourselves in what is possible with new technologies and APIs and often going as far as prototyping code to see what’s possible and where the limitations are. It’s hard to imagine a better return on investment than spending this R&D time with Microsoft in the format of a 1:1 hack.
So a huge thank you to the Microsoft engineers, we had a great time and my advice to anyone thinking of getting involved with these engagements is that they can have great value to your team.
The Insider Dev Tour is such a great event for Microsoft developers, you get the key announcements and latest news that came out of the Build Conference, delivered locally in a more intimate and interactive environment. Best of all it’s a free event put on by Microsoft.
I was very grateful for the opportunity to present two sessions at the Insider Dev Tour in Sydney last week.
- Create Productive Apps with Office 365
- Drive User Engagement Across all your Devices with Microsoft Graph
If you attended I hope you enjoyed the experience as much as I did. The following are links to the resources mentioned during the presentations.
Using Visual Studio 2017 and attempting to add a reference to a project you receive an error stating “The operation could not be completed”.
It seems that to bring up the Add Reference dialog in Visual Studio 2017 the Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop.11.0.dll needs to be regsitered in the GAC. You can follow these steps to register this assembly in the GAC:
Open the Develop Command Prompt for VS2017 (ensure you run the as administrator otherwise the GAC registration may fail)
Change the current directory to the PublicAssemblies folder for your Visual Studio 2017 installation. Mine was:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Enterprise\Common7\IDE\PublicAssemblies
Note: this path will be different for different versions of Visual Studio (e.g. you may find your path is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Community\Common7\IDE\PublicAssemblies)
Run the following command to register the assembly in the GAC:
gacutil -i Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop.11.0.dll
Now restart VS2017 and try to add a reference to your project again and you should see the Add Reference dialog appear.
How to copy an entire folder structure without copying the files (tip for starting the new financial year)
Here’s my tip to start the financial year off with some organisation. If you save your important files in a folder structure per financial year, then you will be ready to create that new folder for the new tax year. To save time and keep your filing structure consistent you can quickly copy the entire structure (including all subfolders) with the following technique. Using this technique, only the folder structure is copied (not the actual files). So you will be up and going with your new folder structure for the tax year and continue filing.
Here’s a simplified version of what my filing structure looks like:
Now simply create your new folder (under which you want to duplicate the folder structure)
Now open a Windows command window and run the following command. It’s the /T option that copies just the folder structure not the files. You can also use the /E option to include empty folders in the copy (by default empty folders will not be copied).
xcopy “c:\users\cdwyer\documents\2012-2013” “c:\users\cdwyer\documents\2013-2014” /T /E
Job done, you should now see your copied folder structure ready to start filing into for the new year.
According to forms submitted to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the Surface tablet will become available at the same time as Windows 8 (26th October 2012).