Updates on SharePoint Framework

The SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP) group continues to announce developments in the SharePoint Framework (SPFx) space. From the latest SIG meeting broadcast on YouTube there are a couple of high points to note, along with the evolution of the initiative. First is that it will be available for OnPrem farms with the release of Feature Pack 2 of SP 2016. This is expected in the second half of this year but as far as I have heard there is no firm date, other than teasers, beyond that. Still, with it being in GA status for O365, this is exciting.

In order to accommodate the OnPrem scenario, the first choice of the yo project generator will be to prompt whether the project is targeting an OnPrem farm, or an O365 tenant. Andrew Connell in a recent blog post picked up on the fact that the GitHub project for the generator has been heavily refactored, and there are hardcoded references to spo and onprem, presumably meaning SharePoint Online, and On Premises. In the new generator project there is a folder for onPremWebpart and onPremComponent. This brings me to the second major point: the addition of more than just webparts, but also Extensions.

The new extensions fall under 3 categories: Application Customizer, Field Customizer, and ListView Command Set. Even with the release of FP2, these will be in Preview for online scenarios and not available for OnPrem. (Of course this is all subject to change as the development evolves, but this is the best information I have as of now.) I will try to follow up in the near future with some examples and insights. Official announcement of the addition of extensions:Announcing Availability of SharePoint Framework Extensions Developer Preview

Another thing that the PnP group is highlighting is that one can use an SPFx webpart to access the feature functionality that has been in SharePoint sine 2007. So, for example, a developer can, along with the app, distribute the same kind of xml files that one would have put into a solution package to create assets on the server such as custom fields, content types, and even list instances. This is all done the same way one would have done in previous versions, except for the delivery and activation mechanism. The main limitation is that this is limited to fields, content types, lists and custom actions.

One final interesting development is that there is now a new custom dialog box available. As with much else related to SPFx it is a React based implementation. In this case it is part of the office-ui-fabric-react library.

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