Community Reporter Nicole Enders interviews Vesa Juvonen, Senior Program Manager, OneDrive – SharePoint Engineering.
Nicole: Okay welcome to the ESPC 2019 we are sitting here at the community reporter booth I have Vesa here as my interviewee.
Vesa: Thank You for having me.
Nicole: You’re a principle program manager at Microsoft so for me you are the Mr.SharePoint development I was visiting one of your tutorials a few years ago now I have so many questions but maybe the first of all is what are you thinking about ESPC so far?
Vesa: Yeah so it’s the first day it’s the the first day and it’s the lunchtime that’s why there’s so many people actually walking around well there’s a lot of people here it’s great to see the excitement we had a really exciting Jeff Teper. Dan and Omar and now I’m a keynote in the morning as well so that went really well and and people are super excited on being here and it’s great to see the positive vibes which we always have in the ESPC so people are happy people are active and they want to engage which is really good.
Nicole: Cool, and you have two sessions here the keynote on Thursday what can we expect.
Vesa: So I have a session tomorrow Wednesday I have a session related on through our latest on SharePoint framework so that’s around talking about what’s gonna be in the shape on frame of 1.10 which is gonna be released soon but not during this week so pretty soon and then also the future around SharePoint framework then on Thursday morning we have a dev keynote which is not only me it’s actually me, Mike Amerlaan, Jeremy Thake, Paolo Pialorsi and Lara Kokkarinen and but this is one of those things which we always do actually that it’s it’s always says keynote Vesa but then there’s always friends so it’s almost like a surprise who’s gonna pop in and do the demos which is fun and but in general because I’m the community person I’m kind of the hosting the keynote and that’s why it’s a Vesa Keynote. Okay now right after that keynote with him and then we have the PMP session which is say a one-hour to talk about the open source and community and what has happened there as well which which is right after the keynote and looking forward and that one smell as well okay.
Nicole: I’m traveling a lot of the last weeks and I’m not sure what you’re thinking about but I think there’s a hype for Microsoft teams at the moment what does it mean for SharePoint developer do we need to switch to teams now and start developing there or?
Vesa: No well think so for Microsoft Microsoft for Microsoft Teams means a lot so for which sounds already interesting but but it is one of the most important products for this fiscal year and that what happens with always with Microsoft we always push certain products and the taking gain that lets say a stable usage and then we keep on evolving and involving from there like SharePoint has success that already what two decades already pretty much or more than almost two decades. So it’s already a let’s say a matured product now for teams we are now pushing it heavily the adoption looks good but what’s cool about the extensibility and development model is that the the web development model can be the same so using the SharePoint framework you can actually extend and do modifications and teams as well. Well certain modifications and then there’s sure there’s chat bots and all of that stuff as well a width apart away you’ve mentioned to be enough in Vienna was it three years ago four years ago we actually showed the chat bots in teams as well so it’s kind of it kind of interesting as well. But the team’s definitely say is a interesting development platform it’s it’s teams is meant to be the landing page of the company the collaboration nowadays it may be that used to be more SharePoint in a past but for developers I think the development models will be exactly the same which is a big thing.
Nicole: To be honest the Microsoft graph is part of the developer platform. Yeah I didn’t use it since yet so when should I use the Microsoft graph when I have so many other possibilities to get my SharePoint data?
Vesa: Well obviously in the case of SharePoint if you come from a SharePoint like in your case you come from a SharePoint background it sounds weird that we suddenly come up with a API new API surface and beside that you should be using this which is actually more limited than the native API so in your case it might be still using the REST API since these are maybe US and that’s fine and but if you think about the graph the value of graph is the factor for new products they expose all of their API stroke rafts so as an example planner or Microsoft teams they do not have a native API because there are new products and really the key value on that one is that from a developer perspective if you can authenticate or authorize the user against the graph you get access on all of those api’s so the development model is exactly the same when you hit an API for planner or an API for teams or an API for SharePoint but sure if again if you come from a SharePoint background the REST API is an option but it’s a unique API it’s not a consistent API it’s a SharePoint specific API right.
Nicole: So when I want to become a cloud developer pause a whole Microsoft 365 and Microsoft rapid.
Vesa: Graph is a good option graph is a but but again so that there are limits on the craft and the things what about is being supported so quite often you might need to fall back on a REST API or see some a parent that’s fine that is a completely valid option as well.
Nicole: Ok I think there’s so many changes the last months or years so one big change for us was the modern UI because when you are deep dive SharePoint developer and you’re building your from solutions and now you have office 365 you have the modern UI did you recognize differences or difficulties when you had to switch the modern UI.
Vesa: You know I was kind of introduced already many years ago and we’ve been gradually then introducing new capabilities and options on the modern UI so right now in Ignite there was a lot of new announcements which we actually talked about this morning in the keynote by Dan I think covered them into this morning and so we’re finally getting to the moment where the modern UI you can achieve similar more important skill capabilities and experiences like scheduling of pages publishing and all of that. So the transition from the classic portals has been kind of delayed because there has been lack of capabilities but now we’re finally getting to the moment where you can actually achieve almost everything in modern like you were able to do in classic. But there has been delays like you said there and it’s a different it’s a different way of designing the portal there’s different capabilities maybe there’s something which is in modern which isn’t in classic but that’s the area where we’re investing so definitely as a recommendation for Microsoft we want everybody go to modern because that’s the latest and greatest that’s the future of SharePoint as well.
Nicole: So modern UI is a different purpose um the old classic way?
Vesa: Well it has different capabilities it’s a different different for example printing capabilities are different one of the key points on the maybe some people are aware that there are certain limitations in the modern experiences related on printing you can’t go completely crazy but that’s by design. The classic way of doing printing and SharePoint actually quite often plucked features to get deployed for customers and then they started complaining of Microsoft why isn’t this functionality working why isn’t that functionality working and then the reason was that they were using a custom master page as an example. So, the classic way of extending and designing portals wasn’t evergreen so it wasn’t sustainable it wasn’t a really quite way of doing that and the modern ways of doing the customization is more consistent what’s right word of saying that maybe future proof.
Nicole: As I did my first this morning UI because I’m always starting with new functional just from a consulting perspective and later on the next step is a developer perspective. I said okay there’s so less capabilities and then I was so happy that we had SPFx so I can build my own web parts and now was the application customizer for example I can
Vesa: Fully custom UIs as well yeah.
Nicole: Yeah because in the old way you would do this with a master page some other stuff and then I was happy okay now we have our possibilities. Then I was talking with my developers and I said yeah it seems like that that there’s real so we had every single classic then we had nearly nothing in modern and now everything..
Vesa: And everything everything comes to the modern side yes absolutely and it’s it one of the big things which we’re going to talk about tomorrow also in the in the SPFx session it’s the fact that the SharePoint framework is evolving to be the microsoft 365 component so you can actually then implement not only SharePoint but obviously teams tabs can be implemented using SharePoint framework and then also office add-ins and outlook extensions with sharepoint framework and that means that you have a one unified development model for developers to learn to extend anything in office 365 which or whatever we’re going to call it.
Nicole: I’m really looking forward to this Office add-on capabilities because when you have so many different options to develop I think you you have to get some experience and if you can use the same tool chain it was a hard step for us switching from our old business to reform solution to SPFx yeah but now we say ok we feel familiar with this and if you say ok yeah you can build nearly everything.
Vesa: And one of the key things which which obviously talks to the benefit of shipment framework is that we built the modern SharePoint using SharePoint framework as well so it’s not just a model for developers to extend the Microsoft 365 we actually build our own experiences using the same tooling. So it means that we will not just introduced a new adding model or a new extensibility model no no because we’re using the same model. This is the first time that’s happening even with the farm solutions Microsoft wasn’t really using farm solutions we were using features but not farm solutions to extend SharePoint. Yeah so that talks to the benefit of SharePoint framework having a sustainable model and a long-running vision so people are able to bet on that so.
Nicole: What are you thinking about power apps power automate because when I have the discussion was my developers so the hard core developers I say that’s not a developer tool that’s something maybe for the customer or the consultants what is your opinion?
Vesa: Well I think to be fair I’m not a specialist on power apps or power automate but they’re acute tools they’re low coat easily approachable tools and they aren’t like I said they’re targeted mainly for well mainly not only but mainly for the customers themselves who actually then modify the experience and I wouldn’t call them as a professional development tools as the professional development tool in Microsoft 365 is the SharePoint framework or that’s the vision where we’re heading now. They are great tools to empower those power users or whatever we call them nowadays I don’t know if they were called information workers at some point yeah and now there may be power users or whatever they are the citizen developers whatever you are using. But they’re great tools and they think they can you can do simple things but they’re limited so if you need to call the really hard core development or professional development SharePoint framework and then Azure and the back-end on that side definitely is the right way to do it and there’s a licensing ambassador being back as well.
Nicole: When you’re thinking about some hard core developers building some solutions yeah because in Germany I would say we have a lot of old farm solution developer right now what would be the first steps you would recommend them to do when they want to be a Microsoft 365 developer?
Vesa: Well definitely we have a lot of free material and training material available in our documentation so that we have tutorials we have videos we have training packages. Hands-on labs demos, samples so really getting started on things is just following up on the tutorials and there’s a really simple getting started hello world once the step 1 2 3 4 and then kind of gradually accepting the direction where we’re heading because I think one of the problems what we’re seeing and I was I was a farm solution developer as well is the fact that people are like no no I don’t want to learn anything new I’m good at what I do. But then at the same time farm solutions to say technology which we created back in 2006 it’s now 2019 yeah so it’s more than a decade from that moment and learning the SharePoint framework ways of doing development make you not just the SharePoint developer because then you’re a web developer then you’re a modern web developer you can target your code against any other application as well and that that really kind of provides the value for classic developers to learn the new ways of doing stuff as well.
Nicole: How long do you think would it take to get so the first steps when I’m doing it between my usual project yeah and then I want to say okay now I’m ready for my first real project.
Nicole: Yeah so I think it depends so for me it took several months so it was was not a year but I’m not sure how many months it…
Vesa: Yeah but it really comes down like you said it really comes down on the projects and getting involved in those kind of customers asking those kind of extensibility not the farm solutions which also comes down on us as a Microsoft we need to educate our customers they’re on the right ways of extending things so I would say like you said a few months maybe actively working in a customer projects then you’re already up up in the speed of learning the new ways of doing stuff. You’ve learnt different extensibility different ways of doing things. I’d say months probably is a good thing but really what what impacts at least from my perspective are the impacts on that one is definitely the fact that are you accepting or are you in denial and when you go to the approval stage from the denial it’s easier to learn new things.
Nicole: Yeah for everything same yes.
Vesa: And it’s IT it’s computer science it evolves so fast that we just need to accept that we need to learn new things and learning new things will increase the value you as a developer as well and if it makes fun them yeah that’s true.
Nicole: Yeah a few weeks ago we had Ignite what were the most important announcements for you?
Vesa: For me as in Microsoft or me as an as a individual person or as a development platform side of the house?
Nicole: As a developer.
Vesa: Well obviously in the developer platform side of the house the big thing for us is is really the Microsoft 365 components so we openly said that we’re heading to the direction where the SharePoint framework is going to be renamed as something else the decision what it will be called yet has not been done. The development model remains the same but it’s gonna be renamed something else which is across Microsoft 365 and then the fluid framework is a really cool thing there as well so the you can take advantage of the almost real-time collaboration protocol of communicating across the world with between different people. So your components in my computer I can do something and that status of that component can be transmitted to anybody else across the world in New Zealand as an example to their computer UI. Using the web technologies and completely seamless and that that’s really cool. What are the scenarios and things what you can build on that we will see it’s one of those things where we are also expecting or waiting for the partner visions and ideas what people are able to build on the button and share modern portals look books really cool book Microsoft calm go and check it out look book Microsoft.com. You can actually have a look on what are the modern portals what are the latest capabilities and you can also provision those portals to your own tenant if you are a tenant administrator that’s a really cool thing as well because if you’re a consultant you need to do some pre-sales or you need to demonstrate what is a modern SharePoint you can go to the look book that Microsoft.com and then get a free turn on from Microsoft and then just provision example content and that’s a really powerful thing as well.
Nicole: That’s cool I tried this so it’s very easy if you’d need a demo environment exactly. I have to check here ok this this morning I think on the ignite was announced as well it was suspicious to do online does this affect us when we are developing with SPFx?
Vesa: It’s an option to be saw story online we used to have a business to do Napa at some point which basically is a browser-based business studio online is kind of an evolution out of that one and and you can definitely do development in the process in the visual studio online for SharePoint framework as a developer that is an option is it a preferred option not necessarily it’s it’s your your call. But you can do modifications on the codes you can do adjustments of the code easily now in browser using the visitor story online and that should be I think there’s even blog posts available how to do that as a CI CD together with devops two very properly. So it’s an interesting direction that you can don’t need to have any specific other tooling you don’t need to pay hundreds and hundreds of euros to get to visual studio up and running and all that so. But it doesn’t really change the well visitors to their code is also online free there there are three other options as well yeah.
Nicole: I recognize that I only need my visual studio code but I have everything on my machine yeah the past it was more setting up a virtual machine and I’m working right in there so he needed a very powerful notebook. I have one more point from the keynote this morning because SharePoint spaces was mentioned there I think it was very silent the last months for SharePoint spaces and I thought okay maybe it has died because before it could be reborn as there’s some developing SharePoint spaces.
Vesa: So SharePoint spaces is going to publicly be a pretty soon and then in the first steps it’s not really for developer but there is a development story behind of that as well. So it is using to create those web parts are those reports are being built using SharePoint framework and then they are using to provide that 3d experience and as a developer you can actually implement spaces experiences as well so that is an option which is coming we were at some point even looking into releasing some of the out-of-the-box webparts as an open source solution so that as a developer you can easily learn how to make those things happen now will that happen we’ll see but there will be a developer story on that as well which is really cool.
Nicole: Because I was so excited when I went was announced yeah yeah and then I thought ok you don’t hear anything yeah.
Vesa: It’s likely silence for a while and now it’s ready to go again on public and start the public preview and then when the public preview starts we can actually start walking and talking about the developer experience as well.
Nicole: So I had one one remark here what can we expect for SPFx in 2020 maybe something.
Vesa: So the big things for SharePoint Framework is the changing of the name Microsoft races to five components or something similar, marketing needs to make that decision we’re looking into enabling storage support so you as a developer can implement web parts and then expose them in the app source and then make money out of them because it is a big ecosystem in office 365 we’re looking into having the fluid framework natively integrated there as well so you can easily take advantage of that one those probably are the biggest ones I would have to go back on my slides but I think those are the big ones.
Nicole: So we should visit your session tomorrow and then we get the brand new updates.
Vesa: Absolutely and also we have weekly community calls we have videos recordings which we do in the YouTube channel those are super valuable as well where we always repeat the latest and greatest in the ignite and whatever is happening.
Nicole: And it’s a community cult everybody can join because I often get the question how can I join the community where can I contribute yes some are very very unsure what they should do?
Vesa: And there is well the simplest addresses AKM/SPPMP from there people can actually find our samples or open source projects our community call details. We actually have a community called open community call every single week where we have like demos around SharePoint development and then a monthly community call as a separate one and they are open for anybody to churn and then getting active on the key top is an option we have like hundred more than hundreds part samples available you can contribute your samples and when you contribute you get acknowledged as a person and your potential your company in our public messaging as well so that’s that’s kind of a keeping back for the people who are contributing.
Nicole: Okay that’s cool I’ve run out of questions so do you have any closing remarks?
Vesa: Just out of curiosity you said you’re a farm solution X farm solution developer and you made the transition to the SharePoint frameworks how has the change been for you.
Nicole: At the beginning it was very exciting I mean we had a lot of frustrating moments because we said okay in the old world we know what to do sometimes nowadays we have even a situation that you say okay I know I would implement it as a revenge receiver and now I don’t have the possibility what should I do complete different world and as you said if I deny the change then it doesn’t really work so I have to say okay I’m open-minded or maybe I say okay I just power automate AKA flow for this here I’m developing at that part and so on. But if you are coming from the old world you have always a comparison.
Vesa: True and it was so different but if you have a look on all of the partners in the expo area as an example a lot of these people are building their experiences using modern extensibility which is great and maybe for closing remarks everybody should get involved on the community stuff what we’re having so we have plenty of open source projects controls tooling CLI’s PowerShell PMP PowerShell or if you don’t want to contribute consume them if you don’t want to consume them join the community cause to stay up-to-date on what’s happening because then people will learn how to do the recommended ways of extending SharePoint and we are pretty open on the community calls as well where we are heading and if there’s any questions please join the calls and have a question because we want to help people to learn the right ways of extending the whole of Office 365.
Nicole: Thank you very much thank you everybody should visit Vesa’s sessions and especially his Keynote on Thursday ok thank you bye.