SharePoint Framework is considered as one of the most recommended SharePoint development options because of extensive customizations features, modern development toolchain and patterns. It uses modern web development technologies and tools to excel the user experiences and developer flexibility for the development environment.
SharePoint Framework, also known as SPFx, is a most consistent and modern development methodology that works perfectly between SharePoint Online, Office 365 and on-premises SharePoint.
SharePoint Framework is only limited to SharePoint development, but also it is supported with extensibility platforms development like Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Viva connectors to extend the customizations. It is supported in both SharePoint Online and SharePoint on-premises. We can develop highly customized web parts and pages with full support of the SharePoint client-side model.
In this article, we will delve into SharePoint Framework and its potential features. Furthermore, we will explore the history of SharePoint and how it has reached up to this level. The overview of this article is given below:
- What is SharePoint Framework
- The History of SharePoint
- SharePoint Development Options
- Key Features of SharePoint Framework
- Why SharePoint Framework is Recommended
The history of SharePoint
Let’s get into the history of SharePoint evolution. Initially, SharePoint was in 2001 as an on-premises product and over the years till date it has been improved and enriched with powerful features. Now, we are in SharePoint Server 2019 and SharePoint Online with modern UI and experiences.
SharePoint has evolved significantly over the period, with several powerful features to cater limitless requirements. Highlights of SharePoint over 20 years are listed below:
- 1997-1999 | Site Server & Site Server Commerce Edition
- 1999 | SharePoint begins as codename Tahoe connected to WebDAV
- Alongside codename Platinum – aka, the next version of Exchange
- 1999 | Digital Dashboard Starter Kit (tools to help you customize Outlook 2000 – already billed as “
- knowledge management solution from Microsoft)
- Introduced “Nuggets”, what would become web parts
- 2000 | Digital Dashboard Resource Kit, aka, Tahoe beta 1 sitting on SQL Server 2000
- 2001 | Add a portal UI to the Digital Dashboard Resource Kit and SharePoint Portal Server 2001 is born
- 2001 | Microsoft acquires nCompass; re-branded the product Content Management Server 2001
- 2001 | Free Office 2000 add-on = Microsoft SharePoint Team Services (aka, the start to an online, extensible, collaborative platform)
- 2003 | SharePoint Team Services becomes Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), and Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 emerges
- 2005 | Microsoft acquires Groove (Peer-2-peer sync; pre-cursor to OneDrive sync) & Frontbridge and enters hosting infrastructure market
- Note: Sarbanes-Oxley rears its head related to document and records management practices.
- 2005 | Microsoft introduces Hosted and Collaboration version 3.0; includes SharePoint Services 2.0
- 2007 | Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, aka MOSS, combines STS, CMS
- Microsoft acquires ProClarity and rebrands as Microsoft Performance Point 2007 – aka, the basis for BI at Microsoft.
- 2008 – 2009 | Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) expands to offer Exchange Online, Office Communications Online, Office Live Meeting, and SharePoint Online (built using SharePoint Server 2007)
- Microsoft also acquires FAST, the precursor team and technology behind Microsoft Search
- 2010 | SharePoint Server 2010; Groove is renamed SharePoint Workspace
- 2010 | Steve Ballmer’s famous “We’re all in” speech at UW (March.4.2010)
- 2011 | BPOS rebrands – Office 365 launches, with SharePoint Server 2010 as it’s foundation
- Live Meeting and Office Communicator are combined to form of Lync 2010 Online – the precursor to Microsoft Teams
- 2012 | SharePoint Server 2013; Groove sync tech is rebranded as SkyDrive Pro
- 2014 | OneDrive for Business, Office Delve, Office Graph (now Microsoft Graph) & Office 365 Video
- 2016 | SharePoint Server 2016
- 2017 | SharePoint Framework #SPFx, Microsoft Stream and Microsoft Teams
- 2018 | SharePoint Server 2019
- 2020 | Microsoft Lists & SharePoint Syntex
- 2021 | Microsoft Viva (Connections, Topics, Learning, and Insights)
SharePoint Development Options
We have several development options that vary from SharePoint Online to On-premises, and then based on classical and modern sites.
– SharePoint Farm and Sandbox Solution (WSP)
– SharePoint Add-ins (SharePoint Hosted and Provider Hosted)
– SharePoint Framework (Bravo)
– SharePoint Sandbox Solution (WSP) – Depreciated
– SharePoint Add-ins (SharePoint Hosted and Provider Hosted)
– SharePoint Framework (Bravo)
If we observe carefully from the above, development options for SharePoint Developers, then we are left with few options. Considering the pain of SharePoint Developers, we need a trustful development platform that is compatible with SharePoint Online as well as SharePoint On-premises. Further, we need a stable development toolchain for classic SharePoint and Modern designs. We, in addition, need strong community support to sustain long term development plans, i.e., SharePoint Framework.
Therefore, SharePoint Framework is considered as one of most recommended SharePoint Development platforms with strong community support, well-suited for both SharePoint Online and on-premises, compatible in both classic and modern design.
SharePoint framework Key highlights
In this section, we will discuss some key features of SharePoint Framework.
- First and foremost, it works perfectly with SharePoint Online and On-premises.
- It is compatible with both SharePoint Classic and modern design and pages.
- It uses client content based on the context of the current user in the browser
- It is completely based on the open-source toolchain and those are front-end development tools like Node.js, TypeScript, gulp, Yeomen and webpack.
- SharePoint Framework app is added at Tenant level and can be used in every site, team sites, group and personal sites.
- The design and controls are responsive.
- Highly customization
- It can be developed from any machine, unlike farm solutions. Furthermore, it can be debugged, and tested in the developer machine.
- Satisfactory performance
- The SharePoint Framework app doesn’t impact the farm and its performance.
- Importantly, it extends the development Microsoft Teams, Viva Connections.
Why SharePoint Framework is recommended
Taking into the consideration above key highlights, it is obvious that SharePoint Framework is a prudent option to do the SharePoint Development. Let’s delve into it.
SharePoint Framework works perfectly with both SharePoint Online and On-premises. Then again, it is compatible with both classic and modern portals. It is compatible with all the plans
- SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server (on-premises)
- Classic and Modern portal
SharePoint Versions compatibility with SharePoint Framework
|SharePoint Version||SharePoint Framework (SPFx) Version||Features Compatible|
|SharePoint 2013||Not Supported||Not Supported|
|SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack 2||v 1.1||SPFx client-side web parts hosted in classic SharePoint pages.|
|SharePoint Server 2019||v1.4.1 or lower||SPFx client-side web parts in classic and modern pages, and extensions in modern pages.|
|SharePoint Online||All versions||All features|
Note: SharePoint Framework (SPFx) is not supported for SharePoint 2013.
Modern Development Methodology
Strong Community Support
If we see the SharePoint developments other than SharePoint Framework, we were missing strong communities and the dedicated Microsoft team was not working or building solutions based on those dev tools. Because of this, the Microsoft team couldn’t understand the pains and difficulties faced by the SharePoint developers.
However, we have strong community support for SharePoint Framework and Microsoft developers also use SPFx for their development, consequently, they understand the complexities and provide frequent updates and roadmap to the platform. Furthermore, we have a strong community with active forums where we can post our queries, and several experts and even Microsoft core product team will assist for resolution. Because, Microsoft Dev team is using this platform, they will face problems we do and will fix the issues by releasing new versions with fixes.
SPFx provides developers with great options to customize and add new features to SharePoint. Now, we can use the latest stacks and technologies to optimize the experience of SharePoint. This adds another advantageous attribute to SharePoint Developers. Microsoft always recommends adding such enhanced features to SharePoint.
Supported Extensibility Platforms
As it is already supported in both SharePoint Online and On-premises which I have shared details in compatibility consideration. Additional to that, it is extended to use as development of Microsoft Teams applications and Microsoft Viva connections customization. SPFx can be used in development of Viva connections and add features to it.
Considering the above benefits and key features, it is obvious to use SPFx for SharePoint development. SPFx Rocks!!
To sum up, seeing the complexity and history of SharePoint and its development approaches, SPFx is considered as one of the best selections. In this article, I have delved into SharePoint Development approaches and challenges faced by a developer. I have also shared the history of SharePoint with its features and improvement over the years. SharePoint has improved a lot and is equipped with several valuable features. Furthermore, I have highlighted the key features of SPFx with example use cases. Lastly, I have pointed out why SPFx is a recommended development approach with several supporting facts.