SharePoint Framework – Part 2 (What is SPFx)

Please have a look on Why SPFx has been introduced if you want to learn about SharePoint history.

What is SharePoint Framework?

Following on from their cloud-first, mobile-first mantra, Microsoft have made clear their investments around the user experience in SharePoint.

This largely involved creating new, modern experiences for the core SharePoint capabilities—using the latest web development technology and taking advantage of the new SharePoint 2016 UX in document libraries, lists and portals.

And, like much modern web development, these are built client-side to provide a lightweight and rapid experience.

In simple words:

 “The SharePoint Framework (SPFx) is a page and web part model that provides full support for client-side SharePoint development, easy integration with SharePoint data and support for open source tooling.”

The SPFx offers newfound levels of customisation for developers—this is the first time ever that Microsoft have offered a model that can be used on any platform with any JavaScript framework to build your SharePoint customisations.

The question for developers would be like what is its significance to developers?

Over the course of SharePoint’s history, a large developer community has extended and shaped it considerably.

Originally, custom web parts were created for predominantly on premise environments, using traditional development tools and languages such as C#.

However, current development trends usually involve client-side technologies such as JavaScript, doing much of the heavy lifting that server-side languages like C# and the .NET Framework were needed to do.

To meet the needs, a new development model was needed; based on JavaScript, the SharePoint Framework is the next evolution of SharePoint development.

Understanding the SPFx:

The SharePoint Framework is not meant to take away from any existing SharePoint development models, quite the opposite.

But as the number of options to extend SharePoint continues to rise, it becomes increasingly valuable to know the ideal scenarios in which the SPFx can help you, as well as some of the tool’s key characteristics.

To make it easy to understand the definition I have divided it in 4 main blocks.

Blocks

Modern pages and Client web parts or we can say Mobile and modern UX

  • The modern SharePoint User experience is built with a mobile-first philosophy in mind.
  • Team sites are not only now responsive, but their contents and customisations can be used with the new SharePoint mobile app.
  • If mobile users are an important audience for your solution, you should strongly consider building it through the SharePoint Framework.

Client side applications or we can say 100% JavaScript

  • Using the SharePoint Framework, you can build solutions that consist 100% of JavaScript.
  • Like SharePoint solutions built in the past using Angular, Knockout, jQuery and JSOM, such SharePoint Framework solutions would still be executed fully in the browser.
  • You can also build more complex SharePoint solutions that combine the modern SharePoint UX and the add-in model for code isolation and security.
  • The SharePoint Framework also supports integration with powerful Office 365 power cloud services.

A new development model or we can say A tighter security model

  • SharePoint solutions of old ran in ‘full trust mode’, which as many found to their cost meant a problem with the customisation spread throughout SharePoint itself.
  • Being client-side code, SharePoint Framework solutions have little access to SharePoint itself (it means they run in context with the user and there is no permission evaluation).
  • More secure, more stable solutions are in the interests of everyone.

 New deployment possibilities or we can say Host wherever you wish

  • Your SPFx solutions code can be hosted anywhere you want: in SharePoint, on your own servers or in the cloud.
  • Specific scripts are loaded from within the browser, as the solution contains a URL reference to wherever the code is located.
  • This means solutions hosted externally to SharePoint can use a wide variety of technologies that would otherwise not be available. This frees developers from many of the technical limitations of previous versions of SharePoint.

Conclusion: With the SharePoint Framework, you can use modern web technologies and tools in your preferred development environment to build productive experiences and apps that are responsive and mobile-ready from day one.

Let me briefly explain you key features of SPFx.

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