Tech Blog – Key Features of the SharePoint Framework

Topics: SharePoint Business Process Automation

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The SharePoint Framework is a page and webpart model which provides full support for customer deployments. It also helps in easy integration with SharePoint data and has support for open source tooling. We can use the modern web technologies with the SharePoint Framework in your desired dev environment for building productive experiences and apps, which are mobile responsive as well.

The SharePoint Framework is out for SharePoint Online and soon for the SharePoint Server version in SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack 2. 

What are the key features of SharePoint Framework? 

  1. End users will be able to use SharePoint Framework – Client-side applications which is approved by tenant admins on all sites that includes self-service team, personal sites or groups.
  2. Performance is dependable.
  3. Controls rendered in the normal page DOM.
  4. Controls are responsive.
  5. Helps the developer to access lifecycle in addition to load, render, serialize & reserialize configuration changes.
  6. The WebParts built with the latest SharePoint Framework can be enabled on both classic and modern SharePoint pages.
  7. Good news is that there are no iFrames involved in the customization (JavaScript is embedded directly onto the page). Should speed up the page performance.
  8. Use any JavaScript framework such as Handlebars, React, Angular. It’s going to look awesome, knockout and more!
  9. Toolchain is based on the common open source customer development tools like TypeScript, npm, webpack, gulp and Yeoman.

Why SharePoint Framework

Earlier, we made webparts as full trust C# assemblies which were installed on the cloud servers. The existing development models for the most part involves JavaScript running in a browser making REST API calls to Office 365/SharePoint back-end workloads. The C# assemblies won’t work on this world. A new development model is required and that’s why the SharePoint Framework is going to be the next evolution for SharePoint development.

What's next?

The SharePoint Framework webparts and extensions have reached the General Availability (GA). Microsoft is going to provide us with updates and refinements based on the user feedback and experience in the coming months. We may experience breaking changes around the API flows, names and more, as the SharePoint Framework capabilities are first launched in the preview mode. The upcoming updates to SharePoint Framework should have the backward compatible features so our solutions will work properly.

FAQ

1. How to inherit existing webpart in a custom webpart. For example, extending an existing webpart using the SharePoint Framework.

Ans: Extending or inhering out-of-the-box webparts is not currently supported by SharePoint Framework.

2. How to add new features or editing functionality of existing features in Image Gallery Webpart in the modern experience using SharePoint Framework?

Ans: Currently, the out of the box webparts aren’t supported for adding new capabilities. I’m sure users would have submitted suggestions via UserVoice (https://sharepoint.uservoice.com/). Let’s hope for the best! 

3. Is there a chance for allowing SharePoint Framework apps in Office Store? This could help in seamless deployments.

Ans: Microsoft is working on an end-to-end plan around for supporting SharePoint Framework applications through the store. This is not currently supported and all solutions will be deployed using the enterprise app catalog.

4. Latest version of Angular (Angular 4) will be supported?

Ans: Technically, Angular is supported with SharePoint Framework already. However, the experience isn’t fully optimal. You can start adding Angular to your solution and try it out. This may cause your bundle sizes to grow up quite bug (which is not recommended) as Angular 4 is not designed to be used in SharePoint style widget format.

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