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Microsoft Previews SharePoint Framework Extensions

Microsoft released a preview of SharePoint Framework Extensions for developers this week.

The SharePoint Framework, released back in February, provides lightweight developer tooling, mostly for client-side WebPart development at this point. The SharePoint Framework Extensions preview, on the other hand, permits additional customizations to SharePoint Modern Pages and Document Libraries.

This release of the framework preview lets developers customize SharePoint by adding a banner at the top of the SharePoint Site page that shows notifications for end users, as well as metadata. Developers also can use the framework preview to add actions and custom fields inside SharePoint Lists. Lastly, the framework preview works with Microsoft Flow to automate business processes or it's possible to tap Microsoft Graph API data (the data that get generated from the use of Office 365 applications). The framework preview also works with other developer tools, such as React, Sass and Gulp, according to a Microsoft video.

The SharePoint Framework currently works with SharePoint Online, but not the server version of SharePoint. However, Microsoft promised during its May SharePoint Virtual Summit event that SharePoint Framework's capabilities would be available for use with SharePoint Server 2016 on premises as well. That rollout is planned for later this year when Microsoft will release Feature Pack 2 for SharePoint Server 2016.

It's not clear from Microsoft's video, though, whether or not SharePoint Framework Extensions also will be available for use with SharePoint Server 2016 when Feature Pack 2 gets released.

The SharePoint Framework Extensions preview is just available right now to "developer tenants," according to Microsoft's release notes at GitHub. It won't work on production site collections. Microsoft plans to tweak it some more before "general availability" product release.

Microsoft's release notes advise developer tenants to uninstall the Yeoman generator first, if that's installed, before adding the framework preview. Next, developer tenants should install the latest Yeoman (version 1.1.0).

A free Office 365 Developer Tenant subscription can be obtained to try the preview, according to Microsoft's "Overview of SharePoint Framework Extensions" document. The document also includes a script for updating to the latest Yeoman templates.

About the Author

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

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