Unity Connect Amsterdam 2015 presentation decks available

At the recent Unity Connect Amsterdam 2015 I presented a session about building solutions with the Office Graph and another one about building a NextGen portal for your organization.

Building solutions with the Office Graph

Preparing for a meeting but not sure what documents are relevant? Writing a proposal and looking for similar documents? Interested in what is happening in your organization? With the new Office Graph, answers to those questions are within your reach.

Recently released Office Delve leverages information from the Office Graph to help you stay in the know and discover new and relevant content for you. A part of the Office Graph is also an API that you can use for building productivity solutions tailored to your specific needs.

In this session, you will see how the Office Graph works and how it can be used for building custom apps. All scenarios will be backed up by real-life solutions that you could use in your organization.

I have been presenting about the Office Graph quite a few times already. Even though the basic concepts of the Office Graph remain the same and the API hasn't changed since its initial release, I always try to update the contents of my presentation with the latest tools and technology to show you how to get the most out of the Office Graph and Office 365.

This time around I showed how you can use the Yeoman Office Generator to build a web application that queries the Office Graph and shows you the documents you have viewed recently. During the demonstration we have discussed the complete process of building such an application including registering and configuring the application in Azure AD and connecting it to Office 365 using ADAL JS and the implicit OAuth flow. On top of it, I built the web application on OS X using Visual Studio Code proving that you can build for Office 365 on any platform.

For the presentation I used the following slide deck:

Building solutions with the Office Graph (Unity Connect Amsterdam 2015) from Waldek Mastykarz

Even though the Office Graph has been around for some time it is still relatively new to developers. The Office Graph API is still in beta and will change in the future. Still, everything you learn about the Office Graph today, you will be able to use when the API reaches general availability. Building solutions using the Office Graph requires a different mindset and it's wise to start thinking about how it could help your organization become more productive.

Another new technology that I demonstrated during my presentation is the Yeoman Office Generator. The generator helps you scaffold an Office Add-in which is particularly useful if you are developing without Visual Studio. Yeoman has been around for a few years but so far it was irrelevant to SharePoint developers. With Microsoft embracing development for Office 365 on any platform, the Yeoman Office Generator plays an important role of helping developers build Office solutions. And even if you are a Microsoft developer using Visual Studio I would still suggest you check out the Yeoman Office Generator: you might find the experience compelling and lightweight comparing to running the full Visual Studio. To put things into perspective: I have been developing Office solutions on my 11" MacBook Air on OS X for quite some time now and not missing a single thing.

NextGen Portal for Your Organization

With the advent of NextGen portals, Office 365 becomes less of a box of building blocks and more of a collection of destinations: turn-key solutions ready for you to use. But how will your users reach all those destinations and where should they depart from?

In this session we will show you how to build a solution that integrates information from NextGen portals and offers your users a starting point for their journeys bringing the most relevant information to their finger tips.

I co-presented this session with my colleague and fellow SharePoint MVP Albert-Jan Schot. We have been working on the idea of building a custom modern portal for quite a while and the Unity Connect Amsterdam event was a great opportunity for us to share our work and experiences with a broader audience outside of Mavention.

The concept of building a portal as an AngularJS Single Page Application rather than using SharePoint pages and Web Parts might seem radical at first. Isn't building portals exactly the thing that SharePoint was made for? If you look closely however and take into account the many advantages that using Angular over SharePoint for building portals offers you, you might reconsider your opinion.

Using Angular for building portals on the Office 365 platform is not without gotchas. In our presentation we shared some of the challenges that you are very likely to stumble upon when building portals with Angular and how to solve them.

To support our presentation we used the following slide deck:

NextGen Portal for Your Organization from Waldek Mastykarz

Albert-Jan and I had a lot of fun presenting this session. Even though the concept we presented might not be something you will use right away, we hope that you found the presentation useful and will consider the idea when building your next portal.

The event

I had the pleasure of presenting at Unity Connect and SharePoint Connections as the event was called in the past, and it has been great to see how the even has been evolving over the years. This time around the organization lined up some of the best speakers in the community and it's been a true honor to be a part of it. I would like thank the organization and sponsors for making the event possible and everyone who attended my sessions.