Current thoughts on the new SharePoint Framework

The blogosphere erupted after the May 4th Future of SharePoint event for right reason – senior leaders at Microsoft unveiled the roadmap for new functionality to first be released in O365 and that will eventually trickle down to on-premises via “feature packs”. Out of all the UI/UX enhancements that were announced, the one bit of news that perhaps got the least coverage but the most post-event commentary was the new SharePoint “Framework”.

I’m not going to re-cap the features of the new framework, that’s been done much better by the likes of Chris O’Brien & Doug Ware:

Chris O’Brien’s code examples, breakdown, etc
Doug Ware’s comments

What struck me as interested and perhaps even excited came a few days later during a Collab365 session where Daniel Kogan (Microsoft) started to talk about how all new enhancements to the SharePoint Platform are going to be developed using this new framework. Let me dig into that a little bit – the new page structures which include responsive design, are going to be developed using this new framework.

This is a huge deviation from the Microsoft of old where they offered Sandbox Solutions & Add-ins/Apps but never had to suffer with building client solutions using these development frameworks. Right out the chute you now have <insert big number of developers here> who have the ability to influence this new development framework. Just the fact that the new branding techniques are being introduced to the platform using the SharePoint Framework has me feeling optimistic that maybe it won’t completely suck.

There’s also the fact that Microsoft is all-in on continuing to push developers towards modern web development tools & technologies such as Node.JS, Gulp, Yeoman, Typescript, etc. I love that this is exactly the same message I have been communicating during my SharePoint Saturday sessions introducing attendees to client side development using JavaScript. The other unexpected benefit of this is you will be able to find more developers who are able to build customizations on top of SharePoint without having to be “SharePoint Developers” since Microsoft is embracing common web development patterns.

So yes, this might be the 4th development pattern recommended to SharePoint Developers – but it honestly isn’t quite so different from what many folks are doing today. Honestly since O365 has come out, there are a a lot of developers building rich solutions which leverage the CSOM & JSOM and which are included via Script Editor or Content Editor Webparts. This framework is extending that capability and with Microsoft eating their own dog food – I imagine that you will see continual enhancements to the framework even after initial release.

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this new framework and try it out myself!

Leave a Reply