Welcome to Microsoft Build 2021
After an extraordinary year, we’re emerging into a new world of hybrid work. Meeting the needs of customers and organizations will require more from our services. More intelligence, more security, more context, more content, more cross-platform availability. More collaboration. Today, we are excited to share all the new features that we’ve added to Microsoft Graph to enable developers and IT administrators to adapt to a new reality. And remember, we’ve left the best stuff – the new developer tools & learning resources – for last, so you have to at least skim the whole blog!
Microsoft Teams (watch: BRK215)
A host of new features are coming to the Teams endpoint this year, designed to make your apps more complete, collaborative, and ready for hybrid work. There are several notable new additions and improvements to the generally available chats APIs. For example, messages now support hosted content like images and code snippets. We’re also enabling full CRUD capabilities for 1:1 and group chats – with delegated permissions. On the topic of permissions, we’re previewing resource specific consent for our audio and video calling capabilities.
In addition to supporting richer functionality within chat, we’re making the channel messages import API generally available to assist with migration of data into Teams, a common request in Merger and Acquisitions (M&A) and systems migration scenarios. Conversely, we’re also announcing the general availability of the 1:1 chat export API, useful for bringing Teams chat data into your app for compliance and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) scenarios.
To help you keep users engaged with your app and aware of updates, we’re announcing the general availability of the activity notification API. This API triggers an alert icon on the top left Rail of the Teams app and creates a corresponding notification in the Activity Feed. We’re also announcing the preview of the @mention API for Teams to allow users to create notifications for other users directly within a message.
Finally, every year we like to share a story about how customers are discovering, deploying, and using Microsoft Graph-powered solutions with Teams to meet the collaboration needs of their business. This year’s we’d like to introduce Aster, and their customer Lesaffre – the world’s largest manufacturer of baking yeast.
Universal Actions for Adaptive Cards (watch: BRK243)
Adaptive Cards are a great way to create rich, interactive cross-platform experiences for your end-users. We’re excited to announce the general availability of Universal Actions for Adaptive Cards in Teams and Outlook! With Universal Actions, developers can now implement a single Adaptive Card scenario that runs seamlessly in both Teams and Outlook.
The Universal Action model also introduces new and improved features for Adaptive Cards. In-place card updates, either automatic or as a result of the user clicking an action, now work in Teams in addition to Outlook, and Outlook Actionable Messages support Adaptive Cards v1.4 with RichTextBlock and Input Validation.
We’ve worked with a handful of early-adopter partners to highlight the potential and power of Universal Actions for Adaptive Cards, including Zoho, Go1, eCareVault, and TCS and are excited to see what other partners in our ecosystem will do with this technology. We’ll follow up with more information on Universal Actions for Adaptive Cards, including a detailed blog, in the coming days.
Microsoft Graph connectors (watch: BRK243)
Today there are two significant Microsoft 365 capabilities available to apps that use Microsoft Graph connectors. The first is participation in Search, the second is participation in Advanced eDiscovery. In each case, the content your app generates appears right alongside Microsoft’s own files & content, in some of the most widely used services in our products. We’re pleased to announce the further expansion of Search results availability to include Teams desktop and mobile clients and the Windows search box. We’ve got dozens of great ready-to-go connectors in our Microsoft Graph connectors gallery, and we’ve seen great examples of connector-powered solutions from ISV partners like Go1, Adobe Sign, eCare Vault, LumApps, and Priority Matrix (AppFluence).
To date, developers can only create Microsoft Graph connectors to connect to our enterprise Search capabilities. That’s changing. We’re announcing a developer preview that will offer early access to connector capabilities for both Search and Advanced eDiscovery capabilities. In addition, the preview will include access to APIs that let your app’s content participate in intelligent discovery experiences like “Recommended” and “Recent” files in Office Hub.
In addition to Microsoft Graph connectors, we’re offering a developer preview of federated search. This capability enables developers to federate with other Microsoft clouds or 3rd party data sources, subject to admin control, to render content as an answer or vertical on our Search canvases. The feature can also leverage Adaptive Cards to provide consistency in UX. Sign up today to participate in this preview.
Few things are as essential to hybrid work as security and identity, and we have several important announcements. Let’s start with authentication.
The authentication methods API now in preview, enables you to manage access to the data and resources in your app using primary, two-step, or step-up authentication, and invoke a self-service password reset process, while the generally available external identities APIs let you manage self-service sign-up user flows for external users of apps within an Azure AD tenant – including sign-up experience, user attributes, and enabled identity providers. We’re previewing a new Azure AD entitlement Management API to help you manage access to groups, applications, and SharePoint Online sites for internal users as well as users outside your organization.
In addition, organizations can create customized Azure AD sign-in experiences with the general availability of API support for custom branding and tailor properties including logo, text – even locale. Note that there are licensing requirements, detailed in the docs, associated with use of these capabilities.
Beyond authentication, we’re announcing the public preview of Continuous Access Evaluation. Now Azure AD can continuously monitor for security threats and revoke users’ access tokens, based on critical events or policy evaluation, rather than simply relying on a short token lifetime.
Finally, we’re creating a set of recommended practices developers and ISVs for building Zero Trust ready applications, including essential APIs and services. Read them today, we’d love questions and feedback from the community.
Outlook Mail & Calendar (watch: BRK244)
Outlook is one of the most widely used, powerful organizing tools in the world, making it a great resource for customer and partner apps. We’re pleased to announce another set of integration opportunities for developers.
First, we are announcing the private preview of rich notifications for Exchange resources including Messages, Events, and Contacts. With rich notifications, apps subscribing to change notifications for Exchange entities can more efficiently get the actual change in the resource data as part of the encrypted notification payload.
We are also pleased to make two frequently requested Outlook capabilities generally available. First, support for sending messages with industry-standard MIME content is now in production. In addition, we’re enabling the capability to access hidden mail folders in Outlook through Microsoft Graph.
There are several capabilities now generally available for Outlook calendar events. First, there are the forward and cancel event actions for the event API. We’ve released the propose new meeting time capability, along with a corresponding event message response entity, directed to the event organizer’s mailbox. We’ve also moved several additional capabilities into production including hide a meeting’s attendee list, identify user’s default calendar and specify the calendar color -in hexadecimal. We’re also previewing event-based incremental sync API that uses a more performant delta query to provide a full sync of a calendar not bound by a time range, bringing it into feature parity with legacy EWS capabilities.
And, before we close out the Outlook news, we’re taking a new approach to webhooks. We’ve created event hubs and event receivers where notifications are consolidated in a central location for retrieval by your application, increasing the overall performance of our Outlook infrastructure – and your app.
Microsoft Graph Data Connect (watch: OD483)
Microsoft Graph Data Connect is now available in preview on Azure. Microsoft Graph Data Connect is a secure, high-throughput connector designed to copy select Microsoft 365 productivity datasets into your Azure tenant. It’s an ideal tool for developers and data scientists seeking to create organizational analytics, or to train AI and ML models. Microsoft Graph Data Connect currently offers access to your organization’s mail, calendar, directory, and contacts. We’ve got a great overview video to help you start exploring how Microsoft Graph Data Connect can change your understanding of your organization today!
Helping teachers and kids keep up with their work is a critical function in any online Education tool. We’re announcing plans to the Assignment API generally available in the coming weeks. This API helps teachers or team owners create, manage, score, and provide feedback on assignments, which can contain things like handouts and tasks for students to complete. In addition to the API’s current functionality, we’re adding App Policy Support for GET calls.
Microsoft 365 generates insights between users and other items using data from Microsoft Graph. But we also know that our customers have a variety of privacy needs, based on factors like geographical location and business operations. We’re excited to preview new granular, flexible privacy controls for managing item insights to meet the requirements of even the most demanding regulations.
Developers, administrators, and end-users with appropriate permissions can now configure custom item insights or simply restrict access by using either the Microsoft Graph APIs, Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK or MyAccount. Very soon we’ll expose these same controls as UI toggles in the Microsoft Admin Center.
Traditionally, print services were managed by on premises software and infrastructure. With Universal Print, organizations can now move their print services to the cloud and leverage Azure AD in the process! We’re excited to announce the general availability of our Universal Print APIs, for developers building advanced and managed print solutions (MPS). To help you get started, we have easy-to-use code samples and a series of videos that show you how to implement common scenarios. Feedback and questions are always welcome in our Tech Community space!
Excel users often work with large workbooks that take a long time to open. We’re introducing a new pattern to address these long-running worksheet operations. Now, users can keep working in a workbook while lengthy operations finish in the background – without waiting, and without worrying about a request timeout. For more on this – and for other best practices around working with the Excel APIs in Microsoft Graph, we’ve got some helpful documentation for you.
Of course, the Microsoft Graph Toolkit team is always adding or improving its tools and providers. For Build 2021 we’re making two components – File and File List – Generally available. We’re also previewing a newly revamped login component that supports multi-account sign-in. Other features include new authentication providers for MSAL 2.0 and Electron, and a SharePoint Framework library for the Toolkit.
…and finally, thank you.
Thanks for reading our blog, and for joining us at Build 2021. We’re always happy to get feedback from the community so don’t hesitate to reach out to us, join one of our community calls, or suggest a new feature or enhancement. We look forward to seeing what you build.
Happy coding – the Microsoft Graph team.