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Microsoft Advises Developers To Stop Using Azure Active Directory Graph

Microsoft clarified earlier this month that it really wants developers to use Microsoft Graph over Azure Active Directory Graph, going forward.

Microsoft Graph is search-based technology underlying Office 365 applications, with an API that developers can tap. It's been a frequent mention during the Microsoft Build 2017 event happening this week for developers. However, the question of whether to use Microsoft Graph vs. Azure AD Graph has been a point of confusion it seems.

In a somewhat obscure Dev Center notice this month, Microsoft explained that Azure AD Graph is on its way out. Developers instead should use Microsoft Graph when building applications that "require directory-based features."

The catch is that Azure AD Graph currently has some capabilities that are lacking in Microsoft Graph, but that limitation shouldn't hold developers back from eventually making the switch.

"Even with those gaps, we strongly recommend that developers start using Microsoft Graph over Azure AD Graph, unless those specific gaps prevent you from using Microsoft Graph right now," Microsoft's announcement stated.

Microsoft's announcement refrained from using the word, "deprecation," to refer to Azure AD Graph, but its days clearly are numbered. Microsoft plans to close the support gaps between the two solutions. It also plans to start introducing new features only in Microsoft Graph going forward.

"At some point in the near future (we hope within 6 months) Microsoft Graph will support all functionality that Azure AD Graph offers (and more)," Microsoft's announcement explained. "At this point developers building new apps (or integrating an existing app with Microsoft cloud services) will be directed to use Microsoft Graph in favor of Azure AD Graph."

At that time, newly registered apps could get blocked from using the Azure AD Graph service. However, Microsoft clarified that nothing will change for "existing applications that already use Azure AD Graph." For those existing apps that tap Azure AD Graph, Microsoft is promising "99.99 service availability."

Microsoft plans to continue to support the Azure AD Graph client library, but only for .NET applications. However, that support was characterized as being at "maintenance mode." In contrast, Microsoft Graph has client library support across "multiple platforms and languages," the announcement indicated.

Developers will be getting some guidance from Microsoft on how to switch from Azure AD Graph to Microsoft Graph, the announcement promised. Future updates on such support will get announced via Microsoft's Dev Center blogs.

Microsoft also keeps a list of new feature additions to Microsoft Graph at its changelog page here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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