by Michael Panciroli
The Office 365 Partner Community is led by National Partner Technology Strategists from the Microsoft US Partner Team. Partner Community activities include blog posts, discussions on Yammer, newsletters, and community calls.
Ignite 2015 highlights for Office 365 partners, and getting started with Office 365 development
If you have been developing apps for Office 365 for a while, you may remember them as Agave apps or Apps for Office. We originally called them Add-ins, and now we’re back to calling them that. The Office 365 API’s are in production today, and you can use those to build Add-ins in Win32 already. We currently have Add-ins on Word and Excel Online, as well as Outlook for Mac Add-ins. We’ve not only standardized the name, we’ve added new capabilities that work across the online applications and devices.
We also expanded Office Add-in capabilities by delivering them on the iPad. With Excel for iPad support for Add-ins, developers can reach over 100 million additional Office users. Word and PowerPoint for iPad are coming soon.
If you already have an existing SaaS solution, you can make that a Web app for Office 365. Think about it as your solution being in the middle, with Office as an endpoint. With a Web app for Office 365, you can get single sign-on from Office 365, call directly into our APIs, get your app into the Office Store, and integrate into the app launcher. Read the article about this in the Office DevCenter.
Once you connect the app, you can pin and launch it from the My Apps page. By the same method, you can also create visibility for your Office Add-in and launch a dashboard version from the app launcher. This will help with discoverability of your app across all of our markets.
At Build, we announced an update to Napa that no longer ties you to a SharePoint collection, but lets you use a browser-based, tenantless development environment. You can sign in to https://www.napacloudapp.com/Getting-Started and start creating Add-ins for Office directly from that browser app.
Office 365 unified API
At Build and Ignite we announced a preview of a single unified API REST endpoint to access multiple Office 365 API services. The unified API reduces the complexity of many productivity scenarios by not having to discover and navigate a different endpoint for each service, acquire and manage separate access token for each service, and deal with siloed services and varying data models. You can now perform those operations though the existing and new APIs through a single REST endpoint.
By using the Office 365 unified API, you can turn formerly difficult or complex queries into simple navigations. The API exposes information about productivity entities and the relationships among them, to enable navigation in data through one REST URL namespace (https://graph.microsoft.com), using one authentication and authorization system, and using a consistent and unified metadata, payload format, error handling, and library.
As you can see in the graphic above, you can access users, files, mail, calendar, groups, and also the Office Graph to see organizational contact and social activity. I’ll talk more about the Office Graph in my next blog post. This new endpoint is currently in preview, but developers can learn more about it at dev.office.com/unifiedAPIs.
The Office 365 developer sessions also highlighted the new Office 365 Groups API that allow developers to build applications that use the native team collaboration capabilities of Office 365 Groups. I want to call out a sample app called the Property Inspector on GitHub that was featured at the conference. The sample has been updated with unified APIs and the Groups API. It converts every inspected property into a group leveraging conversations, files, calendars, members and the OneNote. It leverages Azure Media Services taking advantage of the Videos API, and then the OneNote API to annotate on top of photos and create OneNotes on the fly. The sample has built out reference samples on Xamarin, native iOS, native Android, and Cordova so that you can see how they are using the APIs.
Get started with the Office 365 Developer Program
Sign up for the Office 365 Developer Program to join the growing community of developers. You’ll get a one year free subscription for an Office 365 Development instance, with access to the browser-based, tenantless, Napa development environment, where you can start developing those add-ins. Your program membership includes a newsletter that covers developer news, engineering updates, upcoming events, training schedules, and tools to help you build apps.