New APIs, SDK for Office 365 App Development

Microsoft announced at TechEd Europe that it's pushing new APIs and SDKs to give developers a straight path to developing mobile-first/cloud-first apps that use familiar Office 365 tools.

Office 365 gets a bit more developer-friendly as Microsoft has announced an initiative to provide solutions to simplify the process of developing apps to use familiar Office 365 tools. That news comes from the Office Dev team's blog, who made the announcement from TechEd Europe, taking place this week in Barcelona, Spain.

Parts of the initiative have been in the works for some time, so what's really new is that it's officially announcing the general availability of the new REST-based APIs for mail, files, calendaring and contacts that allow for those tools to be natively integrated into projects. There will be additional APIs that allow integration of tasks, instant messaging and graphing to follow, but Microsoft didn't specify a time frame for release.

To use the APIs, developers need Visual Studio 2013, and then they'll need the Microsoft Office 365 API Tools from the Microsoft Gallery and then be registered as an Office 365 Developer Tenant through the Office 365 Developer portal.

An alternative method for developers who have an Office 365 MSDN subscription is to create a Dev site to an existing Office 365 tenant and to register as a Microsoft Azure Tenant.

More information for setting up an Office 365 development environment to use the APIs is described here.

To coincide with this announcement, Microsoft has released a few online deep-dive learning modules for working with the Office 365 APIs through its Microsoft Virtual Academy.

The Office Dev team also announced that it's also releasing an iOS SDK in preview mode that supports development in Objective-C, as well as a revamped SDK for Android that is now generally available. Currently, the iOS SDK doesn't support Swift, but Microsoft indicated that it's in development.

You can find more details, including install directions and insight from the MS Open Technologies team on the development process for building the SDKs here.

Also new is the Office 365 app launcher, which will give developers an easier way to offer up Office 365 apps and services to end users. Up to three apps can be pinned to a navigation bar for quick access. A preview of this feature was demonstrated in an Office Blog post earlier this month.

On a side note, also announced at TechEd Europe is the availability of an Azure cloud in Amsterdam for Visual Studio Online customers to store projects and data nearer to their region. This has the potential of providing better performance.

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You Tell 'Em, Readers: If you've read this far, know that Michael Domingo, Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief, is here to serve you, dear readers, and wants to get you the information you so richly deserve. What news, content, topics, issues do you want to see covered in Visual Studio Magazine? He's listening at [email protected].

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