Office Development at //Build/ 2016 – 2 – Graph Changes

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Microsoft Graph is a gateway to data and insights in Office365 allowing you to easily traverse over objects and relationships to access the information that is sitting in the Office365 services using web standards. Microsoft Graph is an open platform accessible through a secure data access mechanism.

Microsoft Graph API developer stack.

At Build, with regards to Microsoft Graph the following changes have been announced for General Availability:

  • Webhooks on Outlook Entities
  • Access to consumer services OneDrive and Outlook.com
  • OneDrive large file upload/download

The following, but not only this – there is more, went in preview:

  • Excel REST API
  • Administrative Units
  • Find Meeting Time API
  • Get/set out of office
  • Online meeting links
  • Updates to People API
  • Updates to trending APIs

Documentation on Microsoft Graph can be found at:

Microsoft Graph: The easiest way to call

Office Development at //Build/ 2016 – 1 – The numbers

As you may know I have been visiting Build 2016 the last couple of days, and I plan to get into some more detail of the announcements made at Build this year. A lot of the ‘smaller’ announcements did not make it into the keynotes so hopefully I can share some information with you that you didn’t already hear before. Even if you did it is nice to have a little recap of what goes on right now.

The numbers:

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  • 1.2B Office Users
  • 85% of Fortune 500 have at least one Microsoft Cloud Offering
  • 4T+ emails sent with O365 to-date
  • 50K+ new O365 small businesses per month
  • 340M downloads of Office mobile
  • 3B minutes of Skype calls daily
  • 1B+ meetings created per month
  • Microsoft Graph API calls 420% monthly growth

The numbers are impressive, but what is it to you? You are probably only one of these users and who cares? Well, the point is, as an Office Developer there is just a huge big open market to target. Build your tools properly and you have 1.2B potential customers of your tooling. The other thing is that more or less Office is the -standard- for most people or at least provides you with the output that everyone is able to read/use, even the ones using tools from competitors.

Happy wishes and some Office predictions for 2016

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Another year has gone, a new year started … this is 2016. Welcome!

My year, for the eleventh time already, started with receiving the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award again.

After nine years of receiving the award for Visual Studio Tools for the Office System (VSTO), one year of Office365 I now, after the award update, received the award in the award category “Office Servers and Services”. This is where all former Office365, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business and Yammer are grouped today. As of October 2015 the MVP Award categories have changed, there are now less categories and in theory you can get the MVP Award in multiple categories.

So what will bring 2016 to you and me? Well nobody knows… so I don’t know either, but let’s see if we can make some educated guesses here.

2015 was the year Office Microsoft released some early updates on the Office 365 APIs. Starting with the outer ring of Office365 we got access to files, contacts and much more. Access to the documents itself (the structure of the document, in VBA the Object Model) was fairly limited.

In 2016 I expect to see much more APIs providing access to the Office document model. This will give you the functionality, but now cross-platform, like you used to see with VBA, COM-Addins and in VSTA/VSTO solutions.

Let’s see how the Office365 APIs progresses in the year of 2016. Join me in the process of learning the ‘modern’ ways of developing Office solutions on x-plat. Keep an eye on my blog …

Open Live Writer – Windows Live Writer Open Sourced!

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If you have been using Windows Live Writer to do your blogging you know it was a bit of a PITA to get this up and running on your current platform. Well, this now will change as Microsoft added this to their stack of Open Source software, to keep it alive and allow you to propose enhancements:

“Open Live Writer is an open source application enabling users to author, edit, and publish blog posts. It is based on a fork of the wellloved but not actively developed Windows Live Writer code. Open Live Writer is provided under a MIT license.”

If you read this it is the evidence that it works, as it is written using the download link to the Open Live Writer installer you can find here:

Download

Go to the Open Live Writer website and read all the details, or even better … fork it and start working on it!

http://openlivewriter.org/

Have Fun!

Under Review: Change Icon for Visual Studio 2015

Just after the release of Visual Studio 2015 I ran into the issue where I had a couple of previous Visual Studio versions installed (due to the fact that I had to support software products built on these Visual Studio versions using features that only were available in these specific versions) and apparently Microsoft decided -not- to change the icon for this version.

Now I had on my taskbar four versions (2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015) and the latest two versions displayed an identical icon making it hard to identify the right version and caused me to click the wrong version on several occasions.

So I filed a uservoice request to change this ‘feature’ and make it more obvious to start the right version (for that moment in time).

Obviously many responses were entered on how easy it is to change it yourself… Yes, I was already aware of this but the writers of this comments are forgetting that I am not the only one, so many, many, many users all had to go through the same little steps. Also reinstalling, or just installing on other machines required you to do the same time-wasting little thing to get something that should be there in the first place: a recognizable icon pointing to the right application.

Currently the status of the request (1191 votes to get this changed) has been edited by the team and is now changed into “Under Review”. Hopefully this will mean that they will put in the minor effort to change the icon for the next ‘service release’/sprint/version making your developer life just a little bit better.

The voting is still open, so if you ran into this issue like I did, throw in a couple of votes! :
Change Icon for Visual Studio 2015

Office JS Public Preview is here!

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After months, years maybe, it is finally here: The new cross-platform Excel and Word JavaScript API’s in Public Preview!

Up to now the development of this was happening behind the screen, not available for the general public. At first with little snippets, test scenarios and try-outs to find the best way to work with this, not only on Windows platforms but also the other platforms like iOS or Android.

Until now the Office JS API’s were mostly limited to Office365 interfaces but not targeting file content. This now is changed, at least for the first and still somewhat limited version.

What this means is that you now get the option to actually interact with the file contents. For now only on Excel en Word and only for a small subset of the Object Model as you know it from VBA and/or VSTO, but it is a start.

As its now open into the public, go ahead, and take a look at the public preview of Office.js API’s in Office 2016 and try some of the samples to get an impression on how this works:

Increase the productivity of Users’ with enhanced Office.js APIs in Office 2016

I will go into some more detail in future blog posts. Hopefully a start to get the full object model available but now on multiple platforms!

Want to upgrade but what version of Office am I using?

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Now Office 2016 is available you want to upgrade, but you are not sure what version of Office you are currently running. In my blog post yesterday I already provided a couple of links where to go if you upgrade from Office365 Personal/Home or Business. But to do so you need to know what is installed on your machine today.

To help you a bit with this Microsoft put all the version information for the various versions into one location:

What version of Office am I using?

Now identify your version and upgrade to the right edition.

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