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Developers Getting More Support for Microsoft Teams

A number of developer enhancements are coming soon in preview to Microsoft Teams, according to a Monday announcement coinciding with the Microsoft Build developer event.

The highlights included previews of a new Teams LOB Application Store, support for Adaptive Cards, Teams Graph APIs and App Studio additions, among others. Preview availability wasn't specified.

Microsoft also declared that SharePoint pages are now "more deeply integrated into Teams," according to a Tech Community announcement. Teams users can now "pin a SharePoint page in your channels to enable deeper collaboration around sites and other SharePoint content."

Adaptive Cards
Microsoft is starting to make its open source Adaptive Cards technology available to its various products, including Teams, at preview. Essentially, the Microsoft Cards capability consists of content that's transportable across applications using JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) files. When this content is applied to a "host application," it takes on the formatting of that application.

In addition to the coming Adaptive Cards preview for Teams, this technology will "soon appear across many other Microsoft products, including Outlook, Windows and Cortana," according to the announcement.

Teams API in Microsoft Graph
Microsoft plans to bring some Teams API capabilities to the Microsoft Graph, moving from preview to general availability sometime this summer. The capabilities that will reach commercial availability at that time will include:

  • Creating and deleting teams
  • Adding members and owners
  • Adding and removing channels
  • Changing team settings

These API capabilities will be "ideal for automated provisioning of teams/users/channels and managing the lifecycle of these teams on an ongoing basis," the announcement explained, adding that those items have been a top request.

Also to come will be "New APIs for cloning a team" and new APIs for "managing enterprise LOB apps via Graph." There also will be a way to read message contents in a channel via a coming "Teams Messaging APIs for Microsoft Graph" preview.

App Studio for Microsoft Teams Additions
App Studio for Teams has been in preview since January. It provides a means for creating Teams apps. Microsoft announced on Monday that it is adding two new capabilities to it.

First, Microsoft now stores the app packages in the "cloud," rather than locally, when App Studio is used to create Teams apps. It makes the packages more accessible. Second, Microsoft will add the ability to register a bot directly in App Studio for Teams, instead of having to activate a Teams channel within the Bot Framework portal.

In general, App Studio for Teams helps developers build their deployment manifests and browse controls for use in messages, according to an explanation by Kyle Kapphahn, an app dev manager at Microsoft. It also gives developers a "Card Playground, where you can test your cards directly within Teams."

Microsoft Teams Stores
Organizations that create line-of-business applications for their internal use soon will have their own store. The new Teams LOB Application Store (also called the "Teams Enterprise Catalog for Apps") will let IT pros create a catalog by uploading applications, providing a portal for distributing custom-built apps to end users. Applications can be uploaded using PowerShell, Microsoft Graph APIs and the Teams client.

Microsoft already has a commercial Teams Store for apps, which was released back in January. It also has AppSource, another portal that houses partner-built Office 365 business add-in applications. In the near future, Microsoft will make its Teams Store apps also accessible from within AppSource, Microsoft announced in the Tech Community post.

There's also a Teams Store progressive Web app version in preview, called the "Teams App for the Microsoft Store," which is based on the Microsoft Edge browser. It's distributed and managed via the Microsoft Store and integrates with the Narrator reader and the Windows 10 Action Center. One catch, though, with this progressive Web app preview is that it can only be tested on devices using Windows 10 S-mode.

Other Capabilities
Bots soon will be able to send and receive files in one-to-one chat sessions in Teams, Microsoft's announcement promised. They can currently send images, but Microsoft plans to preview the ability to send text files, PDF documents or Office documents.

Apps currently get added to a Teams channel using tabs, but adding apps in that way hasn't worked so far with group chats. Microsoft is planning to preview adding apps to group chats at some point, although it didn't indicate when it would be available.

About the Author

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

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