Building modern apps with the forthcoming new SharePoint Framework is tailored made for hybrid environments.
- By Elliot Luber
You're charged with engineering a new but important app that the company CEO wants all employees to add to their routines and it should be accessible from any device. The nature of the app would lend itself well to an organization's SharePoint environment, but some groups are moving to the online service available with Office 365, while others connect to the server edition.
As the IT project manager, the first thing you typically do is share the requirements with your development and design teams. But, what if the graphic designer comes back to you with an in incredibly long and complex HTML string? This represents a challenge because the complexity of updating it, running it, changing data or linking it to other apps can quickly get out of hand.
Angular or React?
Today, as clients get more sophisticated, there are also three excellent ways to automate this front-end componentization process based on the recent updates of the major frameworks: Angular, Ember and the React library. All three solutions are open-source, each with its own advantages, but observers seem to see them moving toward a potential long-term convergence as new generations share similar values such as server-side rendering, native play across consumer devices and better management to enable speed.
Implementing these values in the framework has not been even, but the real differentiation of the systems depends on your own organization, skills base, application requirements and access to additional server resources. Also, recent code changes from Facebook, which developed and maintains React, have triggered rumors of some future rights concerns, though nothing solid to date has turned up in the blogosphere as of this writing. It bears some vigilance.
This is not to paint Facebook as the bad boy here, because both Google and Facebook have contributed massive amounts of solid code to the cause -- enough to make developers take a second look at the React library (and related compatible libraries) in addition to checking out the leading Angular solution, developed and maintained by Google and the miraculously resilient Ember framework, which people once feared would die a quick death, though still evolving (sponsorship has shifted over the year -- it's currently in the hands of LinkedIn and Tilde).
Onus on Your Dev Team
The decision also puts the onus on developers to manage "state," when refreshing data because the system has no internal data handling schema. It refreshes and displays, but the addition of queries or application calls add considerable complication to a project. Beecher recommends a strategy with componentization to manage state as simply as possible to minimize React complexity.
Elliot Luber teaches management at the State University of New York’s Empire State College School for Graduate Studies, where he earned his MBA in Management, and has worked at a variety of companies in the technology industry including IBM and CA Technologies and holds a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University.