Developers Point of View on SharePoint Framework

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What is SharePoint Framework (SPFx)

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Build SharePoint client side web part using SharePoint Framework (SPFx) – I

Build SharePoint client side web part using SharePoint Framework (SPFx) – II

Build SharePoint client side web part using SharePoint Framework (SPFx) – III

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Obviously it is also important to take care of developers and think about their thoughts on any technology changes. After all, they are going to build and maintain the system on the new technology. The success of new technology also depends on these developers as well. Lets discuss about SharePoint Framework (SPFx).

 



 

Current release of SharePoint Framework is more focused on user interface extension which allows developers to customize and extend user interface of SharePoint using its provided client side web parts. Being client side web parts, these are executed at client side and can work on SharePoint data (On-premises or Online).

In office 365, it can use Microsoft Graph or custom web APIs to connect and consume data using OAuth and REST methods.

Developers who have been working on SharePoint are already aware of deep concept of SharePoint technologies and its history such as web parts and SharePoint data model. However main changes are new set of tools for building, packaging and deploying client side web parts.

 



 

Developers also need to gain knowledge of TypeScript because SharePoint Framework (SPFx) artefacts are built upon TypeScript. Typescript is typed framework or superset of JavaScript which is further complied to JavaScript language before deployment on production.

SharePoint Framework (SPFx) client side development tools are built on Typescript classes, interfaces and modules. We’ll grasp sufficient knowledge of Typescript as it is required to build client side web parts using SharePoint Framework. The extension of Typescript file is .ts and it is compiled to JavaScript using tsc command.

Object Oriented Programming (OOPs) concepts shall help to developers as TypeScript uses strongly typed objects, object inheritance, classes and interfaces. These concepts are already known to current .NET, Java and C/C++ developers.

 



 

For building and packaging there is no need of Visual Studio only. This is due to some open source technologies like node.js, npm, Gulp which can be used by any platform for developers with their preferred code editor or IDE e.g. Visual Studio Code, Sublime even Notepad.

For developers who do not have experience on SharePoint solution development previously, can also work on SharePoint Framework provided they have knowledge of modern client side web technologies. Client side development can provide a better, more dynamic and more responsive experience for users and even an easier experience for developers.

 



 

The most common pattern of using JavaScript for SharePoint Online extension is JavaScript Injection. In this method of customization, Script Editor Web part is used to inject JavaScript on SharePoint Pages and then use of web browser DOM manipulation to inject HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build required solution.

But this method has some disadvantages, in most of the cases customers are bounded for not to be able to take advantages of SharePoint Online features.

But SharePoint Framework provides better way to handle such situations and as it uses TypeScript, it is more Object Oriented.



 

What’s next

It was just an overview and outlining of SharePoint Framework (SPFx) and what is required for developers? In the next set articles, we’ll see SharePoint Framework (SPFx) toolchain in details e.g. Gulp task integration and provisioning SharePoint assets etc.

 

Thank you for reading…

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