Microsoft, at the ongoing Build Developer’s Conference continues to bring in more treat for developers. The company announced on Thursday, that it is launching three new services that will revolutionise the way developers interact with the Office 365 platform. The new tools are an integration with Microsoft Graph, the ability to add your apps to the Office 365 ribbon and a new portal called Office 365 Connectors.
Before the company dove into the announcements, it gave us a few interesting stats. According to the company, Office 365 currently has more than 60 million monthly active users. Also, more than 4 trillion e-mails have been sent from Office 365. And these numbers weren’t just a boast, the company said that they are to be fed to Microsoft Graph , so that apps can inspect it and learn about how users are using Office.
The company announced five new APIs under Microsoft Graph which will allow developers to learn about their users just by them using Office online applications. Graph is now unified for both APIs and SDKs. It has a dynamic real-time display of data and allows analytic signals. Your apps can also be set to automatically respond to changes in the graph. This means that using Graph, you can build smart contextual apps that integrate with Office 365 data.
Here’s what the company had to say about the fusion between Graph and Office:
[…] Developers can use Microsoft Graph to build smart contextual apps that integrate with Office 365 data and rich relationships, for personal accounts in the consumer service and work and school accounts in the commercial service. Microsoft Graph is the gateway to data and insights in Office 365 and Azure AD and allows easy access and traversal of data across the services so you don’t have to be concerned about where that data lives. It uses web standards that enables any device capable of making an http request to integrate with the service and the platform provides secure access to the data. […]
The next big announcement is that Microsoft will now allow developers to display their apps in the Office 365 ribbon. This will allow for easier access and users will not be forced to leave development services like Excel, Word and PowerPoint to access third-party apps. The company also said that these apps could be uploaded to the Office 365 App Store and integrated that way.
The third and final announcement is that Microsoft is now introducing Office 365 Connectors which is a developer portal that will allow teams to come together and get work done. The company says that more than 50 connectors are now out for you to integrate Office with. These include Trello, Bing News, Twitter, Asana, Salesforce, Trello, Twitter, UserVoice, Zendesk and a host of others.
The service will be broadly available for Outlook 2016, Outlook on the web and the Groups mobile app for iOS and Android.
To create a connector, you just have to post the message to a webhook URL and use JSON to generate a message in the Office 365 Groups shared inbox. The messages will then be shared in the form of rich cards that can be customized in many ways as required.