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Microsoft Releases A Host of Office 365 Development Tools

A new Android SDK for Office 365 is also revealed.

Microsoft has made it easier for developers to build apps for Office 365, with more complete APIs and new developer tools within Visual Studio.

At its SharePoint Conference 2014 today, the company announced a new update of Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013, along with the Office 365 API releases.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Developer Division, S. "Soma" Somasegar, blogged that "This release includes APIs for working with Files, Calendar, People and Mail, exposing data spanning Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Azure Active Directory." He added that the APIs use standard OAuth and OData, enabling development from any environment or platform. As an example, he demonstrated how to get the email of an authenticated user through Exchange Online.

The new APIs expose services across the range of Office 365 products in "a simple, RESTful way," according to Arpan Shah, senior director of Office 365 technical product management. The APIs specifically expose Calendar, People, Mail and File Office 365 APIs. The advantage, Shah explained, is that "...you won't have to develop against SharePoint and Exchange-specific APIs; you will be able to develop against a consolidated Office 365 API set that spans SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, and Azure AD."

The Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013 includes better support for Office 365 Cloud Business App and apps for Office and SharePoint in Visual Studio 2013 RTM. The chief upgrade is in the area of connecting applications to enterprise data sources, including databases, the SAP Netweaver Gateway, SharePoint OData Services and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) RIA Services.

In addition, an update for  "Napa" Office 365 Development Tools has been released. "Napa" lets developers build Office and SharePoint apps directly within a browser, without needing any other development tools, including Visual Studio.

Office 365 development isn't restricted to Microsoft products, either, as evidenced by another release today -- an open source Android SDK for Office 365 that comes via Microsoft Open Technologies. The SDK (in preview) provides access to:

• Microsoft SharePoint Lists
• Microsoft SharePoint Files
• Microsoft Exchange Calendar
• Microsoft Exchange Contacts
• Microsoft Exchange Mail

The SDK is compatible with the Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean and KitKat versions of Android. Considering that Android has now surpassed sales of iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad on a global scale, it makes sense for Microsoft to target Android with the SDK.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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