Microsoft announced a range of new features, tools, and services for developers who want to integrate their services with Teams, the company’s Slack rival, at its (virtual) Build conference today. It’s no secret that Microsoft sees Teams, which now has about 145 million regular active users, as the latest hub for workers to get work done, so it’s no wonder that it needs third-party developers to integrate their services directly into Teams. To that end, it’s now releasing a series of new tools to make it easier for developers to create new user experiences in Teams.
There’s a lot going on here, but the launch of the improved Microsoft Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code is perhaps the most interesting news.
Microsoft community program manager Archana Saseetharan said, “This effectively enables developers to create apps easier and quicker — and to build very powerful apps tapping into the rich Microsoft stack.” “With the updated toolkit […], we offer developers more options. We want to reach developers in their natural habitat.”
What’s New From Today
React, SharePoint, and.NET are among the platforms and frameworks supported by the toolkit. Integration with Aure Functions, SharePoint Framework integration, and a single-line integration with the Microsoft Graph are just a few of the improvements the team allowed with this release. Microsoft is now making it simpler for developers to add an authorization workflow to their Teams applications. “Login is a user’s first interaction with an app, and it’s where the majority of drop-offs occur,” Saseetharan explained. “So [single-sign on] is something we’re putting a lot of focus on.”
The team also unveiled a new Developer Portal for Microsoft Teams, which allows developers to register and customize their applications in one place. ISVs will also be able to sell their apps via the new platform for in-Teams transactions.
Other new Teams features for developers include ways for developers to create real-time multi-user experiences such as whiteboards and project boards, as well as a new meeting event API to construct meeting-related workflows such as when a meeting begins and ends, and new features for the Teams Together mode that will let developers design their own Together experiences.
There are a few other new features here as well, but the bottom line is that Microsoft needs developers to see Teams as a viable forum for their services — and with 145 million regular active users, that might be a lucrative way for tech companies to reach a new audience.
According to Karan Nigam, Microsoft’s director of product marketing for Teams, “Teams is enabling a new class of apps called collaborative apps.” “We are ideally placed to add richness to the collaboration room — a lot of creativity on the extensibility side to make apps richer, making things simpler with the toolkit update, and then having a single-stop shop with the developer portal to handle the whole lifecycle. Finally, a developer does not need to go to different locations; it is a single flow from a business standpoint for them as well.”