Microsoft Build announces new opportunities for users and developers

We’ve covered Microsoft Build with three days of coverage. On Build Day 2, Microsoft announced numerous opportunities for Microsoft Office developers.

OneDrive Files On-Demand

With OneDrive Files On-Demand, you can access your files on the cloud without needing to download them locally. Access them from File Explore and on-demand anywhere.

With Files On-Demand, you can open online files within your desktop or through Windows store apps using the Windows file picker. Select the file you need through file picker and the file will download and open within your app.

The folder in SharePoint Online contains 1.37 TB of data but takes 0 bytes on disk. Credit: Microsoft

On top of that, you can make files locally available by right clicking a file and choosing “Always keep on this device” as seen below:


With any type of change to these files, they are re-synced through OneDrive so anyone can access to changes. It will be available in Windows Insider Preview early this summer and launches publicly with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Additionally, you can access entire folders offline through OneDrive Offline Folders — on your mobile device. It’s available now on Android for Office 365 Personal and Home subscribers and OneDrive business accounts. iOS users will see it in a few months.

Finally, OneDrive for iMessage lets you share files on your iOS device without leaving the iMessage app. You can share entire folders or a single file. To get access to this feature, upgrade to the latest version of OneDrive and enable OneDrive for iMessage. It’s available now.

Use the Office Store to deliver Microsoft Teams apps

Microsoft Teams is now available to all developers who want to publish apps through the Office Store through onboarding and distribution, which allows them to engage users where they work. Apps that are published by developers will now be accessible through a discovery experience so they can add and use apps within Teams. Currently, this is available in Developer Preview but users will be getting it soon.

Developers can now compose extensions allowing users to issue commands to bring information from an app or service directly to team chat without the distraction of context switches.

An example compose extension in Microsoft Teams. Credit: Microsoft

Third party notifications will also be presented in the activity feed so that developers can see information and updates from the service they built. New Team APIs will be coming to Microsoft Graph in preview, which will allow developers to access team and channel information. Capabilities such as tabs, bots and connectors, compose extensions, and activity feed notifications will be packaged in a single Teams apps, perfect for devs to publish and manage.

Enhanced customizations

There are now new opportunities to customize the Office app. Office add-ins have recently been made available on Mac and iOS, so add-ins are seamlessly exposed across many platforms. To extend this further, expanded JavaScript APIs in Word and Excel in preview let developers access and extend structured data within documents. An integrated sign-on system streamlines the use of services such as Microsoft graph for developers and users.

For OneDrive, there are new File Handler capabilities, allowing partners to extend the experience of working with files with new web-based views and connected actions. SharePoint Framework Extensions will be coming soon to allow developers to use tools to customize team sites, document libraries, and lists.

New Microsoft Graph developer capabilities

The future brings artificial intelligence and data processing to help apps engage the end user. That’s why Microsoft launched the Presentation Translator add-in which leverages Microsoft’s translation APIs in PowerPoint. Using this functionality, subtitles can be added to presentations in the same language or in another language of their choosing.

Microsoft Graph’s new API capabilities allow it to access core data, but that’s not all. SharePoint site, OneNote, and Planner data APIs have been made generally available as well.

A new Insights API will be coming soon in preview and will let developers build smarter processes by leveraging relationships between users and documents. The library of webhooks is already in preview and includes user and group changes.

Microsoft Graph expands with two more features, including Delta queries that provide access to lists of changes for types of data, helping developers build powerful, high-performance app integrations. Custom data will allow developers to extend base types of Microsoft Graph to store data in context.

Using Microsoft Flow, a developer can add actions and conditions that respond to operations made on Office 365. Flows can be used to extend Azure code. Microsoft Azure ISV customers will be able to provide new PowerApps and Flow Connectors to the broad audience of Office 365 customers.

Actionable Messages in Outlook on the web enabled users to take quick actions within Outlook, such as assigning tasks and approving budgets. This is now being rolled out to more users in Microsoft Teams as well as Outlook 2016 for Windows; it will also be integrated with CRMs such as Salesforce, help desks such as Freshdesk, and project management tools such as Wrike. Here’s what this looks like:

Connect Office users with the right partner integrations

Add-ins are useful for all users, but sometimes they simply can’t find them. Now, the Office Store is connected to Microsoft AppSource, making it easier for organizations to find the apps they need most. This helps business users say connected to the apps and partners in a single location.

Centralized deployment of Office add-ins is available in preview and allows administrators to automatically deploy add-ins to their organization, making add-ins directly accessible from the ribbon and other overt areas within Office. This will be in general availability soon. Centralized deployment is now supported on Office for Mac and Office Online, so add-ins can be deployed via deployment scripts or the Office Store.

For more on how Microsoft is making the lives of developers easier, sign up to the Office Developer Program.

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