SharePoint Framework Development (SPFx)

The SharePoint Framework development (SPFx) is a page and web part/extension model that provides full client-side support. It has new SharePoint UX which is based on modern web development tools. It is a model in which SharePoint customizations can be built on any of JavaScript framework, like angular JS, knockout JS, or react JS. It doesn’t deprecate any of the existing SharePoint development models.

Things you must know about SPFx:

100% JavaScript:

Using SPFX you can develop 100% JS based solutions. You can also develop more complex solutions e.g. combining different models with services available in Azure.

Host wherever you want:

  • You can host it on your server
  • You can host it on SharePoint
  • You can host it anywhere on the Cloud

What is for old and for new?

SPFX is an extensible model for new SharePoint UX. Solutions developed using development models in the past cannot be used in modern sites (team site, communication sites) like farm solutions, add-ins, while on the other hand solutions developed using SPFX can be used both on classic and modern sites (team sites, communication)

Developer Experience in classic Development vs SPFX:

ClassicSPFxPurpose
.NetNode.jsExecuting server-side JavaScript
NugetNPMPackage dependencies manager

 

Visual studioVisual studio code or YeomanA project templating generator and editor
C#TypeScriptTyped superset of JavaScript language
MS BuildGulpToolkit for automating tasks in the development like package, build and deploy
Webpack Module BundlerBundles JavaScript applications

 

Availability:

The SPFx works for SharePoint online (Web parts, Extensions) and on-premises SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack 2 (Web parts only)

Key features:

  • SPFX web parts can be added to both modern and classic pages
  • Any JavaScript framework can be used
  • Toolchain is based on common open-source client development tools such as NPM, yeoman, webpack, and gulp
  • The controls are rendered in normal page DOM
  • It runs in the context of the current user and connection established in the browser
  • There are no iframes for the customizations though JS is directly embedded to page
  • Controls are responsive
  • SPFx solutions can be used on personal sites, groups or self-services team

Conclusion:

SPFX is the future of SharePoint UX. Cloud-friendly and mobile friendly are the defaults for Modern SharePoint sites and SPFx. SPFx web parts can be added to classic and modern pages, unlike classic development which is only available on classic pages. Working with SPFx removes the need of custom master page. SPFx facilitates totally client-side customizations using any of JavaScript framework which means there is no need to have any knowledge of .net or any other server-side language.

2nd part: Set up SharePoint Framework (SPFx)

3rd part: Build your first SPFx client-side web part

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