Announcing new development and management tools for SharePoint Framework

As SharePoint Framework continues to grow – in users and developers – the variety of different scenarios and styles of development also continue to expand. Through our feedback site, we’ve seen the need for more tools for both developers and administrators. Today, at the European SharePoint, Office 365, and Azure Conference, we’ve announced new capabilities for developing and managing SharePoint Framework elements, based on this feedback. Taken together, you can easily build SharePoint Framework parts and extensions with new developer platforms, and more easily deploy and manage the lifecycle of your SharePoint Framework components.

Major improvements in deploying SharePoint Framework Packages

Several new tools are available to help you deploy and manage applications across their entire lifecycle. First, new application lifecycle management (ALM) APIs will be generally available within the next week. These APIs streamline the process of deploying SharePoint Framework and SharePoint Add-in packages, including submitting an add-in to the app catalog, installing and uninstalling add-ins to specific site collections, and upgrading them as well. Developers and administrators can write scripts to make the process of deploying new and updated packages quicker and more predictable.  Get started with the new ALM APIs with updated documentation.


ALM APIs cover the Add, Install, Uninstall, and Upgrade phases of deployment

Coming soon – by the end of November – a new site collection app catalog capability also provides more flexible options for administrators to control where and how packages and customizations are deployed. For example, an administrator may choose to delegate deployment and management of app packages for certain applications to just a few site collections – which can provide both more isolation as well as easier management.

Also coming soon, you can create one simple package that features both your application manifest as well as JavaScript and resource files. We’ve recently announced that you can use SharePoint Document Libraries as a CDN – and now we’re taking the next step in easing deployment by adding the ability to package CDN-bound JavaScript application resources into your SharePoint Framework packages. When the application package is deployed to SharePoint, your application resources are automatically deployed to a centrally located, SharePoint-hosted Content Delivery Network. This simplifies deployment of web part and extension updates in many cases into a one-stop process – just upload your package (or submit them using new ALM APIs.).

ALM APIs, site collection app catalogs, and integrated resource packaging all provide new options you can use to simplify and strengthen your deployment flows.

New tools for Developers

A key tenet of the SharePoint Framework is to support a wide variety of developer frameworks and tools, both now, and into the future. Many developers’ framework of choice is to work with Google’s Angular framework. Working together, our two teams have been improving support for Angular within SharePoint. At the European SharePoint, Office 365, and Azure Conference, Rob Wormald – from Google’s Angular team – demonstrated Angular Elements in conjunction with SharePoint. Angular Elements, a new Angular Labs project, is designed to bring all of Angular to highly diverse page script environments that mix different libraries and components. This makes it a natural technology for Angular to work seamlessly within SharePoint. The Angular Elements developer technology is in preview, but you can get started by trying out and building SharePoint Framework web parts with this sample

Finally, within your web part, new APIs are available so that you can manage centralized elements via tenant-scoped properties. This provides a way to have centralized, easily managed data – for example, connection information to a web service, or tenant-wide configuration preferences – that are consistent across web parts and extensions. You can then access these properties easily via simple REST APIs in your SharePoint Framework code.

Whether you are a developer crafting new SPFx components, or an administrator looking to build smooth deployment processes, several of the updated improvements releasing now and in the coming weeks provide major new avenues to work with SharePoint Framework. These capabilities all stem from your feedback – so please, keep the feedback coming via sharepoint.uservoice.com. Thank you, and happy coding!