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What’s Next with SharePoint Development?

Danny Ryan:Hello, this is Danny Ryan, and welcome to the ThreeWill Podcast. Today I have Pete Skelly with me.

 

Pete Skelly:Hey Danny!

 

Danny Ryan:How’s it going?

 

Pete Skelly:Pretty good.

 

Danny Ryan:They say the third times the charm, right?

 

Pete Skelly:It is ThreeWill.

 

Danny Ryan:It is ThreeWill. This is our third take. It’s a Friday afternoon, things are getting a little crazy around here. I’m going to mention our beer mugs for the third time. Maybe that is what choking this thing up. Whenever I mention the ThreeWill beer mugs, it just stops on us. It’s like “oh, it’s beer time, it’s time to move on”. Seriously, thank you for taking the time to do this.

 

Pete Skelly:No problem.

 

Danny Ryan:I know you are very busy, or you are supposed to be very busy … you we’re supposed to give it a go this week, but maybe that gave you a little time to come see me which is wonderful. Now I know you are always trying to stay ahead of the curve and trying to figure out what’s coming up next, and as things mature with Office 365 and with SharePoint 2016 coming out, I know you are taking a look at sort of what’s the types of apps we’re gonna be building 6 to 8 months from now. What are you finding out?

 

Pete Skelly:There is a lot of really interesting things that are going on these days. There is so much that is happening, new sort of Microsoft you’ve mentioned recently in both podcasts and blog posts about the new Microsoft … the things that Satya Nadella is doing that is working and cultural change … them being open source. A lot of what they are doing, things like getting ASP.NET core to run on Linux and Mac, containers coming … so a lot of my day job these days has been extremely busy with some client work.

 

Danny Ryan:Those darn clients …

 

Pete Skelly:Those darn clients …

 

Danny Ryan:holding you down!

 

Pete Skelly:get in the way always. But a lot of what I have been looking at … kind of free time, trying to stay on top of things has been where at least where do I think things are going and where do some of the folks, SharePoint user groups and some of the other folks that I interact with, where do they think we’re headed? And so a lot of the things that I’ve been trying to at least look into, if not do full blown apps with, are some of the technologies that I think will probably hit us in maybe 6 to 8 months. So things like ASP.NET core, the use of things like Gulp and Grunt, and some of the more quote web standard. Standard tools …

 

Danny Ryan:I’m not a grunt.

 

Pete Skelly:No, that’s not it. Build processes, things that are … have not been typical to .net developers or Microsoft developers, things that have had a lot of automation around them in the past, using MPM. So recently a few of the things I’ve been looking at are Office ad-ins using what the Office dote PMP teams are doing with Yeoman. So there is a Yeoman generator called Office which actually lets you step out Office ad-ins, so things like mail ad-ins, Word.

 

A lot of what they have been doing is really powerful: layering in things like how to put items and icons in the functionality of the ribbon, things like using Angular and Adel within the Yeoman generator to actually be secure in the things that you are creating, doing it on a Mac or Windows, and then recently trying to look at with the release of … I think it’s a release candidate for ASP.NET 1.0 … core 1.0, I don’t even know what they’re calling it these days, they’ve changed it so much. Just looking at that and trying to figure out how we are going to do things in the SharePoint world, the world that we live in, between SharePoint 2016 that is coming to On Prem, what’s coming out in Office 365 in the next few months with build and connect coming …

 

There is a lot of interesting things that are coming, so just trying to stay on top of those is probably a full time job in and of itself. It’s kind of fun to just try to mess with some of those things either late in the day or kind of at night free time.

 

Danny Ryan:You end up talking to Kirk or some of the teammates about what you’re learning, or you’re collaborating with folks outside of ThreeWill or how …?

 

Pete Skelly:It’s been a little bit of both. Everybody is so busy here that I have been kind of keeping it quiet, so trying to find the right opportunity … it’s early in the year still, so trying to get some lunch and learn things built … so that’s part of what I like to do internally, is work on some of the lunch and learn things that we do internally so I try to get content that actually will show some folks some new things. We don’t typically use TypeScript in projects today, although I think the trend is moving much more towards frameworks that are gonna be client side frameworks. And between Office 365 and SharePoint 2016, more and more treating that as just a set of services … interacting with SharePoint groups and Office 365 groups and what they’re doing … think of some of these things when you’re working with the next client that is either on 365, moving to 365, whether somebody is gonna come to us and say “I want to migrate to 2016 on Premises”.

 

Those are the types of things right now that … there’s so much out there, that just trying to put your arms around it and figure out is that something I could use on my next project, what is the value for that, what is the business value for that, why would I use it? Some of the things internally, we’ve got a couple of folks that are doing some things with Visual Studio 2015 and Visual Studio team services. And they’re using things like Gulp, they’re getting into using Git for source control more and more inside a Visual Studio team services. Where I can, some of those things, just kind of helping out where I can, because that’s the things that I’m trying to push for, but right now, it’s a little early.

 

I think customers right now, at least in my opinion, don’t see a whole lot of need for ad-ins just because they’re not there yet. Getting to Office 365 or even SharePoint 2013 on Premises is probably the biggest hurdle for folks right now. They’re still in the midst of doing those upgrades and trying to migrate versus trying to make wholesale changes and make giant custom applications. And there is such an ecosystem the office apps and SharePoint apps right now … the whole add-in story, I think some folks are waiting to see how that’s going to play out, like are they’re major vendors that are going to come out with things, Myntax is a great example, things like DocuSign.

 

I think within probably next 6 to 9 months we’ll probably see an uptake in some of those requests, and my gut says that’s where the bulk of consulting … as far as customization goes, if I’m gonna move to Office 365, there probably will be a pretty robust ecosystem of apps that are gonna be out there, but how do I combine these? And we talked about this October of 2014 in one of the Whitepapers we did, the more of these kind of micro-services you get, the more you can treat things like files API, all the things that the graph, the Microsoft graph is doing, to be able to expose email, calendar files, other services, the social graph that you use … the more you can treat those things as just consumable services and put your own customization on top, the more powerful those things become.

 

Things like web hooks within office 365, really interesting, how do you build solutions that add business value with those … how do you kick off processes based on for someone like you, like sales processes? If you have someone from a specific company send you and email and you can recognize that and start other processes, write from the receipt of that email versus you having to touch it, that would be awesome. Finding those opportunities, but even being aware of that technology is just very difficult right now, just staying on top of how much change is coming.

 

Danny Ryan:With the, I know we didn’t talk about this in the prep, but with Microsoft buying Xamarin, that adds another Microsoft technology to the stack, I guess.

 

Pete Skelly:Yeah.

 

Danny Ryan:How … what’s going to be our approach starting to look like … because I know we do … mobile is something that comes up pretty often for us, and I think we are getting really good at building responsive sites and those sorts of things. But how does this sort of fit into what we’re doing for our typical application? Are we going to start look at maybe having a component of what we do involves Xamarin?

 

Pete Skelly:I don’t know. I think … I haven’t really even used Xamarin enough to even have an opinion on it.

 

Danny Ryan:Okay, that’s fine.

 

Pete Skelly:I think the most interesting part is … of Microsoft buying Xamarin at this point, is to me … that feels out strategy of cloud versus mobile first. It lets them … it really lets them target developers on everything. If you look at the add-in model … I kind of look at the purchase of Xamarin as a parallel to what they are doing with add-ins. So the add-in model basically separating out those add-ins into just a web application that is being serviced through one of those hosts. Well, it’s still a web application, right? But now you can do things like get to the native medal and if Xamarin forms allows you to do that, it just makes sense. Like I said though, I don’t have enough knowledge of why you would want to choose Xamarin over something like Cordova or any of the other frameworks that might let you to do that … Ionic or some of the others. It, to me, makes sense. I just wonder … what I know the cost of Xamarin studios are as a developer license has been pretty cost prohibitive. So curious to see what would happen there, whether it gets rolled into Visual Studio as an MSDM … you know, as Microsoft’s partner, whether you get that as part of your MSDM subscription or capabilities.

 

Yeah, interesting purchase. I just don’t know … I don’t see it yet as part of what our customers are asking for. I think most business customers still say “well I want it to be mobile”, but if they’re really pressed, those are the things that get dropped first. Unless they’re truly … we have some customers that they’re communications companies and that’s what they do, so they’re gonna have mobile. But for the smaller, mid-sized businesses, I don’t think they’re there yet, but Xamarin may push them there … you know, the ability to do those things quickly and have custom apps that integrate with what you’ve got in Office 365 and kind of the other story, that may just be the piece that pushes it over the edge.

 

It’ll be interesting. I think we won’t see much as far as real traction from that for at least 6 months. And it’ll take that long to kind of ramp things up.

 

Danny Ryan:Anything else you’re sort of keeping an eye on right now, just to stay ahead of the curve, anything else?

 

Pete Skelly:There is so much out there. The most interesting pieces to me right now are container technologies, and I haven’t even really had a chance to really mess with them.

 

Danny Ryan:Darn projects, just slowing you down!

 

Pete Skelly:You gotta pay the bills, but at the same time, you gotta kind of keep your eye on the ball long term. Somehow finding some time to look at that is a big deal. I just think in … you look at Pas, so Platform as a Service, probably 2 years ago, that would have been I don’t want to say the Holy Grail, but it made more sense than doing something as infrastructures as a service managing your own VM’s, etc. And the whole docker container mentality now with windows server 2016, I forget what technical preview it is, but they’ll be supporting docker. So being able to have a container that’s really light weight from a development perspective will be great, but being able to build a solution that does not rely on having to maintain a VM that you can actually spin up different services and test different things and different back ends. I think that’s the most intriguing situation.

 

I look back in the last 10 years, I just saw a post from Joel Olsen that SharePoint is 16 years old this year. So the interesting part to me is, you said Sweet 16, I would really like to see some maturity around using SharePoint and building solutions on it the way we used too. Not in the server side sense, but really saying all of the things that SharePoint provides and that Office 365 provides are a huge base and looking at that through the lens of how do I build solutions on top of all the things I get there, the security, the file storage, the countering, the integration with tasks, all the things that are there that from a business perspective make sense to kind of use and consume centrally, but put them in your own custom apps, or put them on mobile phone, or put them in devices that are out in the field that somebody can actually accomplish the major task and then maybe refine it at their desk later on, or kick off a work flow to start somebody else working on it in quote the back office or the front office, whatever you want to call it.

 

So there is a lot coming that I think is pretty interesting. It sounds like I’m speaking at way too high a level, but there is so much going on. From a detailed level, its …

 

Danny Ryan:That’s okay, stay high level for me, Pete. You seriously want me to stay awake, right?

 

Pete Skelly:I could put you to sleep probably.

 

Danny Ryan:No, no. I appreciate you staying ahead of the curve. I know that’s an important thing for us and its difficult to do at your own projects. I know this year, its one of those … it’s the innovators dilemma, you’re trying to stay ahead of the curve and when we actually get to projects where we’re doing it … you’re moving on to the next thing, it’s difficult to do. But it seems like this year is still the theme, I know talking with Tommy and some other folks, but just get migrating people over to the cloud still … it’s still holding people back right now. So we’ll still be doing a lot of that , and I’m looking forward to the day where we’re building a lot of these little cool apps, and we’re getting there. I think we’re definitely getting there on certain projects. But yeah, it just takes time and sometimes the larger enterprises are laggards, and so it’ll come over time, and just be a little patient with it. I think its great that you’re staying ahead of the curve. We should get together more often, I know we’re doing this once a quarter, but just to get the stuff in your head out is a good thing right?

 

Pete Skelly:That’s scary.

 

Danny Ryan:No, it’s a good thing. What are you looking at now? What are you doing now, Pete? What are you looking at now?

 

Pete Skelly:Yeah, I wish I had more time, but right now, the world of add-ins I think is probably the most intriguing and then the things around there just from a development ecosystem or life-cycle perspective, the things like Gulp, the things like looking at Yeoman generators, those types of things that just speed up development. And then looking at how mature Visual Studio team services is … we build services, get integration, those types of things. There is a lot there, you could go real deep down that rabbit hole, and make a lot of really good things for our customers. There is so much there just out of the box with 2016 … 2013, 2016, and Office 365’s. There is still a lot of consume. They’re pushing out things left and right, so things like Planner. I still don’t think I understand what’s really the play behind groups. I’m kind of looking forward to what they announce at Build. What’s really the strategy behind groups? It opens up a whole new world with active directory behind the scenes, but what are they going to provide out of the box, and then what are kind of ISV’s going to provide as value, and then what are the gaps going to be? Where are businesses going to have to fill gaps? So lot of questions still, too.

 

Danny Ryan:So before we wrap up, you’re involved with the Atlanta User SharePoint … some of the stuff coming up with that, you’ve got …

 

Pete Skelly:Yeah.

 

Danny Ryan:What’s going on?

 

Pete Skelly:We just finished actually planning some of this year’s conferences. The date for SharePoint Saturday 2016 is set, so Atlanta, SharePoint Saturday Atlanta 2016 is going to be June 11. We are also going to do Cloud Saturday, so that will be the second annual Cloud Saturday. We just started looking for sponsors, so I’ll be hitting you up for sponsorship real soon.

 

Danny Ryan:Well you know what my marketing budget is.

 

Pete Skelly:We started … so we just actually met last night, started talking about sponsors. We’ll start probably a call for speakers coming up relatively soon. We’ve got a little bit. But if anyone is interested in topics, basically [email protected] I think is the email address. If not, you can always send it directly to me, and I can get it to the right folks. And typical every year Atlanta Coke Camp, that is probably going to be sometime in the fall again.

 

Danny Ryan:Good.

 

Pete Skelly:So we started planning those things. We had some really good recent talks at the SharePoint user group. Lee Cleary from Protiviti spoke on 2016 and kind of the business value behind SharePoint 2016. So couple of really good sessions recently with SharePoint User Group. And it’s not just SharePoint, we’ve changed the name really to the SharePoint and Office 365 User Group to cover a lot of the change that is happening. Yeah, a lot of exciting stuff happening there too.

 

Danny Ryan:Very cool. Thank you for doing that. Thank you for taking the time to do that in your off time. [inaudible 00:19:37] 24 hours. Thank you for taking the time to do this, Pete.

 

Pete Skelly:Yep.

 

Danny Ryan:Appreciate it.

 

Pete Skelly:No, thank.

 

Danny Ryan:You betcha.

 

Pete Skelly:Pleasure.

 

Danny Ryan:Thank you everyone for listening, and have a wonderful day. Take care.

 

Pete SkellyWhat’s Next with SharePoint Development?

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