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How to use Handlebars in SharePoint Framework Projects – SPFX

I believe one on the most used front end tools in the web development world is out there is Moustache or Handlebars. It is easy to use; you can write native HTML and compelling too.
In the SharePoint world, many web parts directly show data on the page, and therefore this is the right weapon of choice to get fast going.
Right after the first version of SPFx become public available, I created a ticket in GitHub on how to use this front end tool. With the RC0 drop of the framework, a new functionality has become available that allows you to embed Handlebars through a so-called webpack loader. I was pretty excited when Pat Miller tweeted me about this.

Let me show and explain what steps are required to make use of it in your next project.

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Image Renditions available in Modern Team Sites

Yes, you read correctly. The modern team sites got image renditions or at least predefined image formats that will be used by the responsive experience of modern team sites.
Back in the past image renditions was exclusively available in publishing sites only. Well, you were able to use them in team sites too, but the publishing features had to be enabled at site collection level. In addition, classic image renditions might cause negative performance impacts. This was first spotted and documented by Chris O´Brien.
I guess this new feature doesn’t have much to do with the traditional image rendition and you are able to use it in your web part code too. For example, if you like to write a custom image gallery or develop a classic display template.
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Remove empty dlls from Sandbox Solutions

On July 29 Microsoft announced that they will completely remove of code-base sandboxed solution support in Office 365.
The main problem is that many of those SharePoint solutions just deploy XML based artifacts but no binary code.
Nevertheless I think many of those sandbox solutions deploy an empty dll to Office 365 especially when they are developed in Visual Studio.
This unwanted dll can be simply avoided directly through the correct configuration of your Visual Studio.

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The new document library in SharePoint is built with…

Not so fast… As announced at the May the 4th event there are a lot of new technologies that come to SharePoint and you can pick your personal flavored framework to enhance the SharePoint.
Some things of the upcoming changes are already available in Office 365. Things like the hidden web parts or the new document library. Time to rip the components of the new document library apart and show you what was used to build it.

TL;DR

The new document libraries are built with the following three core components:

  • React
  • KnockoutJS
  • RequireJS

In addition a React-based implementation of Office UI Fabric will become available together with the new SharePoint Framework.

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First new SharePoint Framework web parts arrived on Office 365

While I was looking at the new SharePoint site content page I asked myself if more can be found that gives an indication of the upcoming framework and future improvements.
First, I took a look at the source code. Not a big surprise the page was built again using Facebooks ‘React‘ for the user interface and ‘Knockout‘ was used for data binding.
After that I came up with the idea to take a closer look at the web part gallery to see if might some web parts have been deployed to. To my big surprise I found overall five new web parts.

Web Parts of the new SharePoint Framework Extension

Web Parts of the new SharePoint Framework Extension

While some web parts are used to provide tips and trick or how to get started. Two other web parts are more interesting.
The ‘Embed Video Web Part’ and the ‘Embed picture library web part’. I populated them to the gallery and added them to a page in SharePoint. Currently they are deployed, but sadly not working yet. There are no web part specific properties to be configure now and I guess they current won’t load any additional Script or CSS.

New webparts embedded on page

New webparts embedded on page

Embed video web part makes sense to me because this is currently handled by a script embedding web part. A web part that is not responsive without customization.
The embed picture library web part is more interesting because the description states that you can use this to create a fancy new slide show.
In addition to those upcoming web parts it is likely that the new namespace of the additional framework will be ‘Microsoft.SharePoint.SPX‘.

Finally

It is great to see at least a glimpse of the upcoming changes and how the new user interface will be built. Waiting until autumn is still such a long way to go. Especially if you use the same mechanism to customize SharePoint for at least two years now.
Let’s hope it will be released sooner than later. I guess many people love to get their hands on it and provide feedback. Even if it is not rock solid yet.
If you are not so familiar with things like Yeoman, Angular, ReactJS, Handlebars or Knockout, please check out some really great web casts done by the Office PNP team.

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European SharePoint Conference 2016 Program announced

I’m pretty exited to announce that the program of this European SharePoint Conference is now available. I was asked to be part of European SharePoint Conference team and I joined as program chairman.

European SharePoint Conference Team

European SharePoint Conference Team

Together with Matt Berg (Microsoft), Lieven Iliano (U2U) and Rodrigo Pinto (Blue Infinity) we put an exiting program together. The amount of sessions submitted was overwhelming and it was a really hard desission to pick.

European SharePoint Conference 2016

European SharePoint Conference 2016

See you in Vienna!