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If there were any doubts that Microsoft Teams is now a core part of Microsoft’s business, Build 2021 will change minds. At its all-virtual developer conference, Microsoft has further signaled the importance of Teams. Thanks to an array of new features – some available now, others on the horizon – the enterprise collaboration app is more powerful than ever.

As there’s plenty to discuss, we’ll jump in to all the Microsoft Teams announcements at Build 2021.

Collaborative Apps

Perhaps the biggest piece of news is the launch of Collaborative apps on Microsoft Teams/Microsoft 365. Microsoft says the current shift to a hybrid work environment of on-premises and remote collaboration means a new class of applications is needed. These apps must embrace collaboration at their core and on a single layer.

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Microsoft calls them Collaborative Apps, and they will be available for all Teams users. By the way, an interesting takeaway from Build was Microsoft confirmed how many current daily Teams users there are. The platform is now used by 145 million people around the world each day.

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By using Collaborative Apps, Teams users can easily sync work with others without needing to switch contexts or applications, or even change data. Microsoft points out it is making development of collaborative apps easy through the following commitments:

  • “Use your existing skills. Easily integrate your existing apps solutions with Teams and use standard web technologies, JavaScript, and just a few Teams APIs to integrate into Teams messages, channels, and meetings quickly and easily. Hundreds of ISVs like Service Now, Workday, Adobe, SAP, and more are doing this on our platform today. 
  • Simplify development. When you build an app for Teams, it works across many platforms – Windows, Mac, Web, iOS, Android, and Linux. Our goal is to significantly reduce the learning and work for developers to create the next wave of apps. Build once, deploy anywhere.
  • Support developer choice. The Microsoft Cloud offers a full stack of technologies to build collaborative apps. For developers building a new app, you can pick and choose technologies across the Power Platform, Azure, Graph and more based on your needs.”

New Teams Integrations

As developers embark on building collaborative apps, Microsoft wants them to have more tools at their disposal. Specifically, the company is introducing three new Microsoft Teams developer integrations:

“Shared stage integration, available in preview, provides developers access to the main stage in a Teams meeting through a simple configuration in their app manifest. This provides a new surface to enable real-time, multi-user collaboration experiences for your meetings apps, such as whiteboarding, design, project boards, and more.  

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New meeting event APIs, available in preview, enable the automation of meeting related workflows through events such as meeting start/meeting end – with many more event APIs planned to come out later this year. 

Together mode extensibility, coming this summer, let’s you create and share your own custom scenes for Teams meetings. This provides an easy design experience, within the Developer Portal, so developers can craft custom scenes to make meetings more engaging and personalized for your organization. Here’s a custom scene built by our very own team that you can try out today!

Media APIs with resource-specific consent, coming this summer, get real-time access to audio and video streams to build scenarios like transcription, translation, note taking, insights gathering and more. These APIs will have resource specific consent enabled, so IT admins can view these permissions from the Teams Admin Center and validate that such apps have access to just the meetings they have been added to.”

Fluid Chat Components Enter Preview

Microsoft is bringing fluid components to Teams chats in private preview. These are web-powered chat components that users can edit in real time and work across Office and Teams. For example, users can send messages with actionable components, such as a table or a list. Other users can edit in the line the message was sent. This avoids long chat threads with the same components appearing for every edit.

Power Platform Bot Sharing

While Teams is not known as a coding platform, Microsoft wants collaboration to be more efficient within the app. With that in mind, the company is introducing tools to promote a low coding environment within Teams.

For users who want to use Power Platform to build low code solutions within and for Teams, it is now easier to share those tools. Starting today users can share Power Apps they have built and will soon be able to share bots built with Power Virtual Agents.

Microsoft Teams Toolkit

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Microsoft Team Toolkit for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code is available in preview. Developers can leverage the tool to create Teams apps that work on Microsoft stack to function across mobile and desktop. The toolkit supports SharePoint Framework, React, and .NET applications. Coupled with Developer Portal for Teams, dev’s can manage and configure the apps they build with the Toolkit.

 

Tip of the day: Do you get flooded by notifications in Windows 10 from apps and want to disable them completely or just the notification sound? Our tutorial shows you how to do this. As an alternative you can also configure Windows 10 Focus Assist (Do Not Disturb Mode) and set quiet hours.

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