SharePoint Framework: A New SharePoint Development Model
SharePoint is a collaborative platform known for its document management, storage system, and workflows. Out of the box, you can set it up and use it right away, but sometimes, you would need to do customizations with it, in order to meet specific needs in your organization.
One nice thing about SharePoint is that it provides development tools and models that opens the possibilities to extend SharePoint. Microsoft provides developers several options to customize SharePoint.
SharePoint Solutions, which can be farm or sandbox solutions, are packages that can include pages, style sheets, images and client-side code. These usually include SharePoint features that are activated on the site collections.
SharePoint Add-ins, which are called apps before, are available as SharePoint Hosted or Provider Hosted. These are packaged up and uploaded to SharePoint’s app catalog. Typically included in these add-ins are lists, pages, client-side code, and workflows. We also discussed SharePoint add-ins in depth on this blog post.
A new addition to these development options is the SharePoint Framework.
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.
Similar to SharePoint solutions and SharePoint add-ins, SharePoint Framework also provides client-side customizations. These are also packaged and deployed to SharePoint sites. It also provides easy access to SharePoint data using APIs included with the SharePoint Framework but is not limited to that, as it can also access Microsoft Graph, and other accessible APIs.
SharePoint Framework code solutions can also be hosted anywhere. It can be hosted on SharePoint, on the cloud, or on your own servers. Included in the solution is the reference to the code location that allows loading of the specific script within the browser.
SharePoint Framework also runs in the context of the current user and using the current connection in the browser which increases security since the customization can only do what the current user can do. This also means that SharePoint Framework solutions load and perform faster as compared to other development options like add-ins that runs within the context of an iframe.
SharePoint Framework is currently only available on SharePoint Online and Office 365 and is yet to come to SharePoint On-Premise. Though this new development model does not depreciate the other development models like the SharePoint add-ins, it would be valuable to know that there is another option available to us developers to help us customize and extend SharePoint. Now that we understand what SharePoint Framework is, there are cases we might be presented with different scenarios and it would help to know when we can use SharePoint Framework. We’ll discuss more on this in our next post.
Solutions using SharePoint Framework runs in the context of the current user.
SharePoint Framework solutions can be hosted on your terms, be it in SharePoint, cloud or your very own servers.