The Indusa Blog

All You Need to Know About the New SharePoint Framework

Posted by Indusa Admin on December 7, 2016 2:16 pm

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There’s a lot of talk about the new SharePoint Development Framework that Microsoft unveiled earlier this year. Touted as a fully supported client-side development model, with easy integration options like the Microsoft Graph and support for open source tooling, as a SharePoint manager, it’s important to understand what value the framework will bring to SharePoint development, and ultimately to your business.

With Microsoft using the new framework to build new experiences for the SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business mobile apps, it is set to empower SharePoint developers both inside and outside Microsoft to create rich user experiences. By embracing several popular open source practices, such as JavaScript and web templates, Microsoft is encouraging you to use tools that you are comfortable with, and embrace modern web development techniques in order to build a more responsive design.

O365 SharePoint New Publishing Site

While you might find a lot of information online that delves into the technical aspects of this new framework, let’s look at the business value and understand why Microsoft is promoting it as one of the coolest new features of SharePoint.

A Modern Development Kit

  • The new SharePoint framework is a modern development kit that is flexible, extensible, robust, and truly embraces Microsoft’s mobile-first, cloud-first initiative.
  • Based on open source JavaScript, and not Microsoft’s proprietary .NET model, the new framework helps developers implement a mobile-friendly, responsive design right from the start.
  • By offering a structured approach, JavaScript enables you to create highly-engaging and dynamic user experiences that run seamlessly on desktop browsers as well as on mobile devices.


SharePoint Framework SharePoint Framework Mobile View

Minimized Barriers to Development
SharePoint Development Framework reduces several barriers to development that have been associated with previous frameworks.

  • Development is expected to be more automated (reducing overall development time), and the use of JavaScript promises to create more options for SharePoint web as well as app development.
  • The new framework complements Microsoft’s focus on the cloud and mobile, and allows you to embrace modern innovations.
  • Such features will not only help SharePoint developers, but also those seeking to proactively contribute to their own SharePoint environments.

New Technologies
SharePoint Development Framework packages a plethora of modern technologies that help you build modern apps and experiences for Web and mobile devices.

  • The new framework uses Node.js in an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment, enabling you to develop lightweight and efficient applications through the use of event-driven, non-blocking I/O model.
  • Using the Yeoman scaffolding engine, you can easily create project structures with all the files and folders just like Visual Studio.
  • With Gulp, you can leverage a wide variety of plugins and automate critical processes like building web parts or uploading them to CDN – making the entire development process more efficient.
  • Office UI Fabric enables you to seamlessly blend your SharePoint app or add-in into Office and Office 365
  • Using Workbench, you can replicate the SharePoint testing environment and seamlessly test new web parts and apps before pushing them to production environments.

Easy Development of Pages

  • SharePoint Development Framework offers a transformational change to the structure of SharePoint pages – from being technology independent to offering a number of new opportunities like hosting web parts and add-ins and more – you can enjoy an entirely new SharePoint page experience.
  • You can build pages using any client-side JavaScript and templating framework such as React or Angular.
  • Customizing pages is also a breeze with the new framework – you can select and place the required components with the simple click of a button and create interesting and engaging user experiences.
  • The new framework provides a page layout that is responsive and mobile-ready by design; each page has an inbuilt structure that displays content according to the device – whether it is a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
  • You can place web parts, files, apps, Delve components, and other elements according to your business needs, without worrying about the responsiveness

Create Engaging User Experiences
The new SharePoint Framework offers much-needed respite to SharePoint development that was quickly succumbing to extensive customization. MVP Chris O’Brien, in his article on the Nuts and Bolts of SharePoint says, “We now have a page and web part model that’s fast, lightweight, simple for end users, and nice to develop on. There are also new ways of solving common requirements around building mini-applications, but in a way which moves away from the very SharePoint-y building blocks such as JSLink and display templates that we had in the past, to a way where the implementer can choose how to build the UI using the approaches of their choice.” It opens gates for innovation, both for the development of SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online. The amalgamation of new development options, increased efficiency, rich user engagement, and reduced development time is sure to have a profound impact on end user experiences.

A new ‘cloud-first, mobile-first’ strategy unveils the cloud and mobile capabilities through SharePoint, enabling simple, yet powerful file sharing and collaboration on any device. While a large portion of businesses are still using SharePoint server, it has become apparent that the future of SharePoint will rely heavily on cloud technology.


Bhavin Sankhat
About the Author – Bhavin Sankhat

Bhavin works as Sr. SharePoint Developer at Indusa and has over 5 years of strong experience, which includes enterprise portal configuration and customization, along with integration of SharePoint with MS CRM, MS AX and SAP.


Contributing Writers:Malavika Nityanandam