Microsoft Readies SharePoint Improvements, Launches Next-Gen Migration Tool
- By Kurt Mackie
- May 14, 2018
Microsoft last week announced some coming SharePoint enhancements, including new versions of the SharePoint Framework and the SharePoint Migration Tool.
Version 1.5 of the SharePoint Framework will be arriving "over the coming weeks" with an emphasis on new developer features, Microsoft's SharePoint team announced last Thursday. The framework was at version 1.4.1 back in February, according release notes in the GitHub repository, which is where the framework is housed. Microsoft first released the SharePoint Framework for SharePoint Online and Office 365 last year with support for open source tools to build SharePoint Web Parts.
The SharePoint Framework is Microsoft's client-side "page and extension model" for creating modern SharePoint pages using OAuth and REST-based APIs. It's replacing an earlier development model for building server-side SharePoint apps. Microsoft distinguishes between a "classic" SharePoint pages development model, and its current modern pages approach used with SharePoint Online.
At last week's Microsoft Build event, Vesa Juvonen, a Microsoft Certified Master on SharePoint and a Microsoft principal consultant, gave a session talk on the SharePoint Framework. Microsoft is putting its future development investments into modern SharePoint pages on SharePoint Online, he noted.
Currently, Microsoft estimates that there are more than 1 million SharePoint developers out there. Of the 135 million Office 365 monthly users, SharePoint plays a big part, he added. SharePoint and OneDrive are used by 300,000 organizations and 85 percent of Fortune 500 organizations, he indicated.
Juvonen addressed the notion that Microsoft seems to change out its SharePoint development models every three years. However, he assured the Build session attendees that the SharePoint Framework is worth learning. He said that Microsoft itself uses the SharePoint Framework to build out SharePoint's modern features.
The SharePoint Framework is "not going away as long as we have SharePoint in Office 365," Juvonen said.
New SharePoint Framework Features
SharePoint Framework 1.5 will be getting new package managers, namely yarn and pnpm, according to the SharePoint team. Microsoft also plans to add a "dynamic data" sharing capability to the framework. With it, data and context can be shared with apps using a "basic event subscription and publishing model." This dynamic data sharing capability will allow Web Parts and extensions to "subscribe to custom-designed events," Microsoft indicated.
The coming SharePoint Framework 1.5 also supports adding SharePoint pages into Microsoft Teams channels, according to the announcement:
This [capability] makes your custom-designed SharePoint Framework components available in Microsoft Teams, bringing together all of the best tools in one place. Now, as you develop new extensions for Teams, consider using SharePoint pages and SharePoint Framework.
Microsoft also is working on the ability to add SharePoint Web Parts into tabs on Teams, although it's not clear when that might be available.
The new SharePoint Framework 1.5 will be getting so-called "experimental components." Developers will have to opt-in to use them. Microsoft cautioned developers that they shouldn't actually release their SharePoint Framework-built apps using these experimental components because those components could change or even get dropped.
One of those experimental components will be the ability to globally deploy SharePoint Framework Extensions across an Office 365 tenancy, which will be arriving in the "coming weeks." Microsoft's cited the example of providing "a consistent footer element with a disclaimer or confidentiality test" across a site. Those types of global extension deployments sometimes work best for organizations, Microsoft suggested.
SharePoint Migration Tool 2 Released
In other SharePoint news, Microsoft announced last week that its SharePoint Migration Tool version 2 has reached the "general availability" milestone, meaning it's ready for commercial use. The tool was described as being at the preview stage last month, so it went "gold" in a short period of time. It only works when moving SharePoint Server 2013 workloads to SharePoint Online, according to Microsoft's documentation. The announcement indicated, though, that Microsoft plans to add "support for more SharePoint versions, site structure migrations and more" in a future release.
Microsoft had released version 1 of its SharePoint Migration Tool back in January, but version 2 was built in response to customer feedback. SharePoint Migration Tool version 2 seems to address more user needs. It supports using JSON files to specify what to move and has greater support for SharePoint List types. It has expanded support for NTLM, Kerberos, Forms and Active Directory Federation Services.
SharePoint, OneDrive and the GDPR
Microsoft also described last week how SharePoint Online and OneDrive will meet the requirements of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which describes privacy issues and legal procedures for the handling of user data. The GDPR is already passed law, but it will become enforceable law on May 25. There will be stiff penalties for noncompliant organizations found to have violated EU resident privacy protections.
Microsoft conducts Data Protection Impact Assessments to assure that "privacy by design" and "privacy by default" is met for both SharePoint and OneDrive in Office 365. However, meeting the GDPR is a two-way street. IT pros using those products also "must take privacy into account during the whole lifecycle of the system of process development," Microsoft's announcement noted.
Microsoft contends that IT pros have the tools to "add, modify or delete data" to comply with the GDPR. Organizations should "designate a privacy contact alias in Active Directory" for any notifications from Microsoft. Additionally, Microsoft should be notified "as soon as a breach is detected."
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.