SharePoint Framework (SPFx) – an overview
SharePoint Framework is the new development model with a new UX. Using SharePoint Framework we can build apps and productive experiences that are responsive and mobile-friendly. The SharePoint Framework works in SharePoint Online and on-premises. In short, SharePoint Framework is a page and web part model that provides full support for client side development that is capable of easy integration with SharePoint data and also supports open source tooling. Companies interested in SharePoint development should certainly look into SharePoint Framework.
Tooling of SharePoint Framework
1) Tooling: Yeoman, Node.js, Gulp, Typescript, Visual Studio Code.
2) Choose your framework: Knockout, Angular, React etc.
Purpose of SharePoint Framework
Initially, SharePoint Online had many features which were written in C#, compiled to DLLs and deployed to the servers. This solution worked well in only one enterprise. But for multiple tenants it didn’t scale to the cloud. So Microsoft introduced two alternative methods -
- SharePoint Apps/Add-ins
This runs separately from SharePoint. The developer creates an iframe where the actual content is rendered in SharePoint Page. The benefit of this approach is that it has no access to the current connection or DOM. The drawback of this approach is it runs in iframe. iframes are slower than script editor web parts because it requires sending a new request to another page. Making them work with responsive designs is also difficult.
How SharePoint is Helping Enterprises Become More Efficient
SharePoint is a comprehensive collaboration tool that businesses are increasingly adopting in order to become more efficient and helping their employees become more productive.
SharePoint Framework Essentials
- It is responsive.
- Controls are rendered as normal DOM.
- It runs in the context of current user and connection in the browser.
- No iframe.
- Use any browser framework that you like – React, Knockout, Angular etc.
- Open source development tools like NPM, Typescript, Yeoman, Webpack, Gulp etc.
- Used in Classic web parts and publishing pages as well as modern pages.
SharePoint Framework and the future of SharePoint
I believe that Sandbox Solutions and Farm Base Solutions are deprecated and they don’t have a future. The future of SharePoint lies in intuitive and easy to use interfaces. The release of SPFx to general availability finally allows us a new style of coding and enhancing the end user experience.
Ravi Suthar is a Sr. Technical Analyst at Softweb Solutions. He specializes in SharePoint Services, Office 365 and Microsoft technologies.