While SharePoint Framework has been around for a while now, it could be that you're just starting with it. Here is the easiest way to get going.
How to start with SharePoint Framework?
- Setup development environment
- Follow getting started tutorials
- Follow self-paced training
- Join the community
These 4 simple steps will help you get started. Let's have a closer look at each one of them.
Setup development environment
SharePoint Framework uses a Node.js-based toolchain. To use the toolchain, you need Node.js, which is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Detailed instructions to install Node.js and other prerequisites needed for building SharePoint Framework solutions are available in the official documentation.
Tip: I'd recommend that you install Node.js using nvm (short for Node Version Manager). SharePoint Framework gets regular updates and newer versions require a newer version of Node.js. If you need to switch between different SharePoint Framework projects, nvm will save you a lot of trouble managing Node and all dependencies. Nvm is available for both Windows and macOS.
Follow getting started tutorials
To help developers to get started with the SharePoint Framework, Microsoft has been doing a great job in putting together a set of basic tutorials that introduce you to building web parts and extensions. These are step-by-step tutorials that include videos and code samples which makes them perfect to follow even if you're an absolute beginner.
Follow self-paced training
The getting started tutorials will give you a quick overview of what can be done with the SharePoint Framework. For a more thorough understanding of the SharePoint Framework, I'd recommend you to have a look at the training packages. There are different packages available that take you from the overview of the SharePoint Framework and its toolchain to more detailed topics like extending the web part property pane.
Join the community
SharePoint Framework has one of the most passionate and active communities out there. There are regular calls where people present their work and Microsoft shares the latest news. There are sample solutions built with the SharePoint Framework that people share as a reference and there are many blogs where people share the latest tips and tricks and their experiences.
If you're just starting with the SharePoint Framework, joining the community will help you get through the hurdles and learn more about what's possible and what's coming. Here is an overview of the different community resources and calls. Start with joining the bi-weekly community call and looking around on GitHub.
Bonus: create a GitHub account
Many things related to SharePoint Framework happen on GitHub. Whether you have a question or want to have a look at sample solutions. Even though you might be looking more for resources than contributing at first, having a GitHub account will make things easier for you.
By no means is this list exhaustive and there are hundreds of other resources that will help you with building SharePoint Framework solutions. But one step at a time. Start developing. The rest will come in its own time. Good luck and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.