SharePoint is offering new features every time with its updated release and SharePoint Framework 1.8 is out now that has a lot of new things in it. A number of preview technologies are now made available for use in this release and this blog will broadly speak of those niche areas. The SharePoint Framework V1.8.0 brings together many options for productivity and a lot of flexibilities to customize more experiences. In fact, Microsoft is converging at SPFX as its power center now.

Listed below are the top highlights of the release that can improve every facet of your businesses' end goals.

1. Deploy SharePoint Framework web parts to MS Teams Tabs

When setting up teams in Microsoft Teams, what we generally do is we set up and customize channels and tabs for people working in the team and as the work continues, additional channels and tabs can be appended to the existing portfolio. What's more interesting in the SPFx v1.8.0 release is that web parts created using SharePoint Framework can be used as Tabs in Teams. This means you can create the web part in SharePoint and port it into your teams based on your requirements and make use of it in either place.

Benefits of using SharePoint Framework as a platform for your Teams Tabs

  • Any web part can be exposed as a Tab in Teams
  • Scope of exposing your custom Tab as a web part and tab in your tenant varies
  • You can utilize any SharePoint specific APIs and functionalities in your web part since tab executes based on its underlying SharePoint site

2. Using Single Part App Pages in SharePoint Online

Single part app pages allows hosting SPFx web parts and Teams applications in a locked layout in SharePoint Online thereby preventing end users from modifying the page. In Single part app pages, we get a full width of the entire page and there are no command bars and hence, you can create and deploy full application experience. So, single part app pages is the best option to develop single page applications that can host a single SPFx web part or MS Teams application.

3. Domain Isolated Web parts

Though the previous versions of SharePoint allowed you to easily consume Custom API secured with Azure AD, the drawback with those versions was that any script running in the tenant can access API. This scenario can be handled by "domain isolated web parts" in the latest SPFx v1.8.0 by running the web parts in an iframe or a different domain thus ensuring that only this domain receives access token and resources. Isolated SPFx web parts isolate and access APIs secured with Azure AD and allow only specific web parts to obtain the token of a particular API.

4. Library Components: A new developer preview feature

Developing a reusable code that can be shared by other components is a great idea and in fact, SharePoint Framework supports to create many common services that can be utilized by many web parts. Library component is yet another alternative option to create shared code that can be versioned and deployed independently. Moreover, it can be used and referenced across all the components in the tenant. The library component is still in the beta mode and will be soon available for use. As of now, you can only host one library component version at a time in a tenant and it does not allow other component types containing library component.

5. Support for Typescript 2.7, 2.9 and 3.x

In this release, Microsoft has decoupled the version of Typescript from the version of SharePoint Framework since users were using the older version of TypeScript and found it difficult to upgrade their projects to the latest version. Now with this update, you can go ahead and specify the version of TypeScript you want to use without relying on what the build system uses.

6. Web part variant theming in SharePoint Modern pages

The recent SharePoint Modern pages released a feature to have section background colors. Based on the background on which the web part is residing, it can update the theming to reflect the background color. By enabling the supportsThemeVariants property in the web part manifest to true you can disable the default white background. Web parts can then be notified of the background color changes using the SPFx ThemeProvider property.

7. Deprecating legacy Fabric CSS consumption

Starting from the initial release of SPFx 1.0 Microsoft kept adding a bunch of older version Fabric CSS to the page. That unnecessarily loaded the unwanted CSS every time and so starting from the 1.8 version, solutions will no longer load the older Fabric CSS. If you still want to stick on to the previous behavior, you can set up the loadLegacyFabricCss property to true in your components manifest.

Summary

The latest SharePoint Framework v1.8.0 system is packed with many advancements like isolated web parts, app pages, availability of SharePoint web parts in Teams and Teams Tabs in SharePoint (in preview), feasibility for developers to work in their preferred development environment, etc. have taken the SharePoint experience to a whole another level. So, a web part developed on this version can be deployed in SharePoint, MS Teams or even sold as App in Store. This means forum, ideation web part, etc. is an easy fit with the help of isolated domains. In fact, with such updates, I clearly see Skype disappearing due to this thereby making MS Teams more powerful killing its competitor like Slack.

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