The SharePoint Framework (SPFx) just made it out of Developer Preview and is now being rolled out to all First Release tenants. It is no understatement that the Framework’s Client Side Rendering (CSR) model will shape the future of the SharePoint user interface in significant ways.
The Evolution of the SharePoint User Interface
Microsoft first introduced Master Pages and Page Layouts to SharePoint 2007, leveraging the power of ASP.NET. Over the years, there have been many updates to the look and feel of SharePoint, especially with the continual release of new SharePoint versions including 2010, 2013, and now 2016, but the Framework marks the first real shift in its user interface.
The introduction of SPFx was originally made at the May 4th “Future of SharePoint” event in San Francisco, which sent shock and awe to the world of many SharePoint Developers. Then, on August 17th, at SharePoint Fest Seattle, Microsoft announced the Public Developer Preview to Office 365 Tenants and consequently, Github began to rumble. And today, marks another momentous announcement in the SharePoint Framework evolution, the unveiling to First Release Tenants.
The Introduction of the Client Side Rendering (CSR) Model
Well for all you SharePoint Branders out there, then you know how exciting this release is for the progress of the SharePoint user interface and user experience. CSR allows SharePoint Developers to insert solutions directly into SharePoint. Our President, Eric Overfield put it perfectly in one of his recent blog posts, CSR, “de-couples the back-end presentation of information to the client (browser).” So, what does this mean in plain English? Now you can customize the front-end of SharePoint without having to touch the back-end. You can tailor SharePoint the way you want to create new off-the-charts branding solutions.
For our team, this new way of branding SharePoint evokes the feeling one gets when they see two otters holding hands, pure elation. However, many Front-end Developers are nervous. The SPFx introduces the use of TypeScript and drops the need for the Script Editor Web part, a crutch for many. As the base of the SPFx, TypeScript will open up new doors for developers to advance their skillset, but as with any major change, there will be a period of transition and learning.
The release of SPFx is going to help PixelMill expand our development skillset to create more modern and innovative designs on top of SharePoint. Currently, the “SPFx only makes it possible to create newly styled web parts based on its CSR engine,” however, Eric and our team expect continual progress and updates. Yes, it is okay if you are a little skeptical right now. It’s not all an otters cuddling type of scenario. Yes, this is uncharted territory for SharePoint, but remember, it is a new foundation to build some pretty excited interfaces. Moving forward, continue to learn TypeScript and get familiar with the coding structure. Seize the opportunity to grow beyond HTML and ASP.NET.
Learn more at the Microsoft Dev Center.The #SPFx is now available to First Release Tenants! #clientsiderendering #Microsoft #SharePoint… Click To Tweet