Tech Update: QuickApps for Office 365 is now SPFx Enabled

Tech Update: QuickApps for Office 365 is now SPFx Enabled

SharePoint was launched in the year 2001 as an on-premises product. Over a period of time, developers have extended and fashioned it in many ways. In the past, web parts were created as full trust C# assemblies that were installed on the cloud servers. Though, recent development models mostly involve running JavaScript in a browser making REST API calls to the SharePoint and Office 365 back-end workloads. C# assemblies do not work in this environment.

Hence, there was a need for a new development model, which is the SharePoint Framework. In this article, we will get into the details of SPFx, its features, benefits, and a lot more. Further, we will also talk about the impact of SPFx on QuickApps in this article.

QuickApps is AgreeYa’s No-code SharePoint customization solution. With QuickApps, SharePoint users can build applications, automate business processes, create complex dashboards, reports & charts, using a suite of 20+ powerful web apps. QuickApps empowers the business users thereby reducing their dependency on IT and accelerating the time to market.

What is SharePoint Framework (SPFx)?              

The SharePoint Framework (SPFx) is the next progression in SharePoint development. SPFx is a page and extension model that enables client-side development for building SharePoint experiences. SPFx enables easy integration with the SharePoint data and aids with open source tooling development.

In layman’s language, SharePoint Framework is a model for building customizations on the SharePoint platform. The Framework is based on the concept of building client-side solutions that integrate with the modern SharePoint UX. Professional users can use modern web technologies and tools in their chosen development environment to build productive experiences and apps that are responsive and mobile-ready. Have a look at the benefits of SharePoint Framework-

Top Benefits of SharePoint Framework 

  • Reliable performance 
  • Mobile responsive (when developing from scratch)
  • SPFx helps with open-source client-side development tools like Node js, Yeoman, NPM, Gulp, and Webpack.
  • SPFx supports JavaScript frameworks like React, Angular, and Knockout JS.
  • SharePoint Framework runs in the context of the current user and it does not require iframe to load an app.
  • SPFx web part supports both SharePoint On-premise and SharePoint Online versions.

Why SharePoint Framework (SPFx)?

Over the past few years, we have seen a few development models for SharePoint. SharePoint customization models have been evolving with one drive: separate customizations from SharePoint to enforce platform hygiene and stability.

The SharePoint Add-in model was the primary footstep in the course of running customizations externally to SharePoint. However, this model has some limitations, one of them is the use of iframes for integrating add-ins on pages which has its own limitations related to cross apps access and performance.

Business users demand new capabilities from their collaboration platforms. New SharePoint UX has been designed as an answer to that demand. SharePoint Framework (SPFx) is a model for building customizations that integrates with the new SharePoint UX.

Functionalities of the SharePoint Framework (SPFx) are:

  • SPFx permits the developer to access the lifecycle in addition to render, load, configuration changes, serialize and deserialize, and much more.
  • SPFx runs in the setting of the current user and connection in the browser. JavaScript is embedded directly to the page and there are no iFrames available for the customization.
  • SPFx controls are rendered in the normal page DOM and are responsive and accessible by nature.
  • SPFx is framework-agnostic. Business users can use any JavaScript framework that you like including, but not limited to, Handlebars, React, Angular, Knockout, and Vue.js.
  • SharePoint Framework end-users can use client-side solutions that are approved by the tenant administrators (or their delegates) on all sites, including self-service team, group, or personal sites.
  • The developer toolchain is built on popular open-source client development tools such as Yeoman, NPM, webpack, TypeScript, and gulp.
  • SPFx solutions can be utilized to extend Microsoft Teams.

SPFx web parts can be added to both classic and modern pages.

Will SharePoint Framework replace other models?

SharePoint is a rich platform and there are numerous scenarios for extending its standard capabilities. SPFx would not likely be supporting all of them and combining SharePoint Framework customizations with SharePoint Add-in might result in particularly powerful solutions. For better understanding, let’s get a little deeper into understanding the difference between SharePoint Add-in and SharePoint SPFx

SharePoint Add-in V/s SharePoint SPFx

SharePoint Framework can be defined as a compromise between efficient but unmanaged and non-secure JavaScript injection technique whereas SharePoint Add-in is a highly controllable but browser/network inefficient.

Efficiency differences

SPFx code is not embedded in an iFrame and it runs in the context of the current user and connection in the browser. There are no iFrames for the customization

Add-ins run in an iFrame. Additionally, iFrames are slower than the Script Editor web part, as it requires a new request to another page. 

Integration differences

SPFx provides some “hooks” for getting info from SharePoint, since it is designed explicitly for the context of a SharePoint page.

However, Add-ins are a little more agnostic, with a lot of shared infrastructure and design between Office Add-Ins and SharePoint Add-Ins.

Is using the SharePoint Framework a best practice?

The launch of the SharePoint Framework is not disapproving of anything. All that users were able to do in the past can still do after the SharePoint Framework is released. However, SPFx is yet another tool in the toolbox and it is entirely up to the user to choose the best tool as per their requirement.

An important point to keep in mind is that while customizations built using the SharePoint Framework work on both modern and classic sites, SharePoint Add-ins work only with old sites and you need to do more tweaks to make it work on Modern sites. Hence, if you want to extend the new SharePoint UX, you will have to use the SharePoint Framework. Additionally, SharePoint Framework based apps are lighter as compared to Add-In model-based apps so provide you with better performance experience.

When should you start using SharePoint Framework

Businesses can still work with the user experience that they are familiar with and using modern team sites is currently not required. This is a very central aspect as many organizations have made huge investments in SharePoint solutions and have trained many users for working with particular UX.

Modern team sites look amazing and offer improved user experience in the mobile-first world. If you are planning to extend the capabilities of the modern team sites, solutions based on the SharePoint Framework is the best route.

Another thing worth noting is that SharePoint Framework solutions work both in the modern and the classic experience. Even if your organization is not using modern team sites just yet, it might be worth it, to build your solutions using the new SharePoint Framework so that they can be used in the future.

QuickApps is SPFx Enabled

AgreeYa’s No-code SharePoint customization solution QuickApps is now SPFx enabled. Subsequent to this development the performance of QuickApps will be enhanced as per the benefits of the SharePoint Framework. It will have the following impact on QuickApps –

  • Apps built with QuickApps will perform better and offer more reliability
  • Apps built would appear evenly across all devices
  • QuickApps users can now support open-source client-side development tools like NPM, Node.js, Yeoman, Gulp, Webpack.
  • QuickApps web app will support SharePoint Online post SPFx enablement
  • QuickApps will support JavaScript frameworks like Angular, React, Knockout JS.

QuickApps is now more power-packed with SharePoint Framework capabilities which are required by modern enterprise SharePoint users. Using QuickApps for Office 365 which is SPFx enabled will help businesses adopt the latest in the technology world and help them stay ahead of their competition.

With QuickApps, SharePoint users can unleash SharePoint’s full potential without coding. Using QuickApps, users can custom code applications, automate business processes by developing desired reports, and dashboards up to 80% faster without coding. For more QuickApps information and free trial visit http://quickapps.agreeya.com or write to us at quickapps@agreeya.com