Microsoft desires to assist enterprise builders faucet into the explosive progress of Microsoft Teams. At Build 2020, the corporate launched a Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code extension for Teams in preview, launched new integrations between its Power Platform and Teams, and introduced a customized app submission course of to assist IT admins. Oh, and the corporate dropped an extended record of upcoming Teams options. We had the chance to talk with Bhrighu Sareen, CVP of Microsoft Teams ecosystem, to debate all of it.

Teams is the corporate’s Office 365 chat-based collaboration instrument that competes with Slack, Facebook’s Workplace, and Google Chat. It’s additionally Microsoft’s fastest-growing enterprise app ever. That was true in 2018, lengthy earlier than the coronavirus pandemic began juicing up numbers for distant work and studying. As of April 29, Microsoft Teams had 75 million day by day lively customers, up 70% from 44 million day by day lively customers six weeks prior. Those are simply individuals who use the Teams app each day — thousands and thousands extra doubtless use it solely throughout weekdays or sometimes.

Sareen oversees constructing the Microsoft Teams platform. Among different obligations, he helps three teams of builders construct apps for Teams: company builders, unbiased software program distributors (ISVs), and Microsoft companions. But they’ll already construct apps, so what’s new at Build 2020?

“You’re right, developers can build applications,” Sareen stated. “The three big buckets I’m going to talk about [are]: easier to build, seamless app discovery, and deeper user engagement.”

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Easier to construct

First, Microsoft introduced a bunch of latest Teams instruments to “streamline app development.” Frankly, it looks as if a jumble of overlapping additions for builders to kind by means of. It seems that’s on function.

“A lot of platforms have a particular way to build,” Sareen stated. “You have to follow that to build an application on that platform. In our mind, Teams has enabled multiple ways and welcomes developers across the board to come and build. It’s a continuum in my mind. On one end of the spectrum is native applications that people can build today for Teams. On the other end of the spectrum is the simplest, empowering, and democratizing development of applications for anybody in the company.” You in all probability already guessed it: The former is Visual Studio and the latter is the Power Platform.

Visual Studio

The new Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code extension allows you to construct undertaking scaffolding, configure options, create app bundle manifest and setup internet hosting, and validate app packages. Why is an extension even required to construct Teams apps? Sareen gave an instance: Say you wish to construct a bot for Teams in beneath 10 minutes. “Having the right templates, the code samples, and all the other capabilities that you need right away at your fingertips — that’s why we invested in this,” Sareen stated. “It made it a lot … easier and reduced the friction.”

Microsoft gives business developers new tools to build Teams apps

The extension may even begin the app publishing course of (for your self, to your group’s catalog, or to the Teams app retailer). More on that course of later.

Power Platform

Next, Microsoft unveiled Power Platform integrations with Teams that allow you to construct low-code/no-code experiences with customized apps, workflows, bots, and dashboards on your workforce and clients. They’re all coming over the following two months:

  • Simplified “add to Teams” button for Power Virtual Agents (June) and Power Apps (July).
  • June: Improved Power BI sharing to Teams with a brand new Share to Teams button in Power. You’ll additionally be capable of copy particular person charts in a Power BI report back to a Teams dialog and have the chat embody a wealthy thumbnail preview of the chart, in addition to an adaptive card permitting customers to take actions on that chart.
  • July: Enhanced workflow automation with Power Automate + Teams. New triggers and actions constructed particularly for Teams to unlock customized message extensions, automated @mentioning, and a custom-made bot expertise. New enterprise course of state of affairs templates may even be rolled out to jump-start automation improvement.
  • July: Power Virtual Agents dropped at Teams, making it simpler to create and handle low-code chatbots for Teams.

Microsoft Graph and App Studio

Then there’s the Microsoft Graph, a key element of the corporate’s AI technique. The Microsoft Graph APIs for Teams have gained 24 new granular permissions for app knowledge entry authorization. Developers and admins can slim the app’s entry and scope to a particular workforce’s set of information, versus all workforce knowledge.

New Microsoft Graph APIs are additionally coming quickly. APIs that allow you to create subscriptions for various occasion varieties (new/edited/deleted messages, replies, reactions, channels, and chat threads) and an easier method to ship app notifications to customers throughout gadgets are coming in beta. New APIs are additionally coming to the v1.zero endpoint: Send channel messages, primaryChannel, fileFolder, and Shifts.

Microsoft gives business developers new tools to build Teams apps

There are a couple of extra tidbits price noting. Microsoft at the moment launched App Studio model 1.4.zero for Microsoft Teams. Updates embody assist for app manifest schema 1.6, a sophisticated part in app particulars, an app bundle validation instrument to run checks that reach outdoors the essential schema validation, and higher error dealing with by way of a bot framework connection.

Microsoft gives business developers new tools to build Teams apps

Finally, Microsoft shared that later this yr builders will be capable of lengthen their app’s capabilities by connecting to a cell machine’s digicam, location, and microphone. The firm confirmed off a Teams bot managing expense experiences utilizing a cellphone’s digicam.

Seamless app discovery

After builders construct an app, they need to coordinate with enterprise determination makers and IT admins to deploy it. Apparently, that workflow isn’t very clean. Developers and admins will quickly have a correct app submission course of and higher app administration capabilities.

“Once apps get built, distributing them — doesn’t matter what platform it is — is always a bit of a pain,” Sareen stated. “Especially if you’re a bigger organization, how do you ensure that it is secure, it’s compliant, and no one’s spamming everybody in your organization?”

App Submission API

Developers will quickly be capable of submit Teams apps to the App Submission Microsoft Graph API by way of App Studio, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, Power Apps, and ShareLevel Framework. The apps will go on to the Teams Admin Center for IT admins to overview and approve.

Microsoft gives business developers new tools to build Teams apps

“Once you build the application in your IDE, with a single click you can submit to your tenant admin,” Sareen stated. “Most people in big organizations don’t even know who their tenant admin is. So this will make it easy. You just submit it, the tenant admin gets it. In the Teams Admin Center they actually verify, approve, and publish. This process will make it easier for any developer in an organization, for any workflow or business process they have built for themselves or for their work group, to share it broadly across the organization. That is the key. Because right now, every developer can build their own stuff, but it’s only limited to them.”

Microsoft Teams Admin Center

Speaking of the Teams Admin Center, IT admins will quickly get new capabilities for managing Teams apps. A brand new Manage Apps view will present all apps in your tenants — together with app certification, approval standing, and licensing standing.

Microsoft gives business developers new tools to build Teams apps

Also, a brand new third-party subscription buy expertise will allow you to view and buy subscriptions related to third-party Teams apps. Custom templates will allow you to create pre-defined channels, tabs, and apps on your customers. Finally, new Microsoft Graph API permissions will allow you to grant consent on behalf of all the tenant or set up an app to a particular workforce.

Deeper consumer engagement

Microsoft Teams can also be getting a slew of latest options rolling out now, quickly, and later this yr. Here is a fast rundown:

  • Now: Adaptive Cards 1.2 brings @mentions assist, wealthy textual content blocks, present playing cards, visibility toggles, inline textual content buttons, and extra types and formatting choices.
  • Soon: Users which have signed into Teams received’t need to signal into apps that combine with Azure Active Directory Single Sign-On for each desktop and cell. Developers will get a simplified authentication course of by means of a single API name. Later this yr, bots will get the identical remedy.
  • Soon: Azure Active Directory Conditional Access will allow customers to run apps and tabs even when their IT admin has arrange conditional entry insurance policies requiring the usage of a trusted machine. Website tabs on Windows that use Azure AD will mechanically signal you in and assist device-specific conditional entry insurance policies.
  • Soon in preview: Message motion assist for cell. Message actions could be triggered instantly from a message and can be utilized to create duties or work objects following a dialogue inside a chat or channel.
  • Soon in preview: Resource-Specific Consent (RSC) will let Teams house owners set up an app for his or her particular workforce and prohibit the app’s scope and entry to knowledge to solely that one workforce. This permits workforce house owners to make selections versus needing the worldwide IT admin to provision entry.
  • Soon in preview: Richer card varieties in incoming webhooks. Full assist for Adaptive Cards, together with assist for bot framework playing cards (hero, profile, lists, and extra).
  • Soon in preview: Personal apps obtainable on cell, specializing in interactions with a single consumer, reminiscent of 1:1 conversational bots or private tabs. These kinds of apps are already obtainable for desktop and internet.
  • Later this yr: Pop-out apps and (some) channel tabs. When customers must give attention to a particular app, they’ll open a separate window and maximize or resize the appliance. Simply right-click on an app to see the choice to come out or go to a tab and discover the pop-out icon within the high proper.

That final function goes to vary how folks use Teams fairly a bit:

Microsoft gives business developers new tools to build Teams apps

You would possibly assume that not all of those options apply to enterprise builders. Not so.

“We want to make sure developers are successful,” Sareen stated. “And developer success is around engagement and monetization. Making our partners successful is a top priority for the next 12 months for us.”

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