Big Overview of the SharePoint Framework

SharePoint Framework

The SharePoint Framework provides complete support for client-side development, it is a web-page model which is integrated with SharePoint data & supported for open sourcing tools. We are able to use latest web technologies and tools in our convenient development environment in order to build responsive & mobile-ready applications which in turn provide growth. The framework works for SharePoint Online and will be available on-premises (SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack 2).

Key features of the SharePoint Framework include:

  • It runs always in present user context & browser connection.
  • It provides responsive controls.
  • As the JavaScript is directly embedded in the page, there are no iFrames present for customization purpose.
  • It enables the developer to access the lifecycle – including load, serialize & desterilise, configuration changes etc.
  • Rendered controls in the normal page’s DOM.
  • Reliable performance.
  • It is the platform is compatible with many file formats & operating systems. Any JavaScript framework can be used like Angular, React etc.
  • Common open source client development tools like TypeScript, gulp etc are based on this tool chain.
  • Its web parts can be added to both classic and modern pages.

SharePoint Framework client-side solutions are used by end users that are approved by the tenant administrators (or their delegates) on all sites, including self-service team, group, or personal sites.

There is an improvement of runtime model on the Script Editor web part. It includes a robust client API, an HttpClient object that handles authentication to SharePoint and Office 365, contextual information, easy property definition, and configuration etc.

Why the SharePoint Framework?

It was launched in 2001 as an on-premises product. It was extended & changed by a large developer community over time. For the most part, the developer community followed the SharePoint product development team’s practices, including web parts, SharePoint feature XML etc. Many features were written in C#, compiled to DLLs, and deployed to on-premises farms.

Its architecture is suitable for only one enterprise environment, but it didn’t scale to the cloud when there are multiple tenants run side-by-side. As a result, two alternative models were introduced: client-side JavaScript injection, and its Add-ins.

SharePoint Add-in model

The current option for solutions that run in NoScript sites is the add-in/app-part model which creates an iFrame where the actual experience resides and executes. The advantage is that because it’s external to the system and has no access to the current DOM/connection, it’s easier for information workers to trust and deploy. End users can install add-ins on NoScript sites.

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There are also some cons to this method. Firstly, they run in an iFrame which is slower than the script editor web part due to the requirement of a new request to another page. The page has to go through authentication and authorization, make its own calls to get SharePoint data, load various JavaScript libraries etc. A web part of Script Editor might generally take, E.g. 100 milliseconds to load and render, whereas an application part might require 2 seconds or extra. In addition to this, the iFrame boundary gets it harder to build responsive designs, & inherit CSS and theming information. But your page is not inaccessible by other controls of the page like iFrames have the best security and for the end user (the control has no access to their connection to Office 365).

JavaScript injection

The very popular web part in Online SharePoint is the trendy Script Editor. You can efficiently paste the JavaScript into the Web part of Script Editor & have that JavaScript execute at the time when the page renders. It’s rudimentary and simple, but effective. This runs in the similar browser context like the page & is in the similar DOM, thus it can interact with the other controls onto the page. Moreover, it is simple to use and relatively performant.

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