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Developers now have more ways to create great solutions with Microsoft Office 365

A person using a laptop that displays various Microsoft Office apps.
Office 365 remains an important product for Microsoft, representing a core component of the company’s “cloud-first, mobile-first” productivity solutions approach. It’s no surprise, then, to see Office 365 featured early and often at Microsoft’s Build 2017 developers conference.

Kirk Koenigsbauer, Office corporate vice president, highlighted three areas where developers have new opportunities in building Office 365 solutions. The Microsoft Teams developer platform, the Microsoft Graph, and Office partner integrations all received announcements at Build 2017 about new ways for developers to leverage the more than 100 million Office 365 subscribers.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is the company’s Slack competitor, which offers groups with collaborative tools built around a chat-based workspace. One of its more powerful features is a robust developer platform that offers tabs, bots, and connectors that help developers build functionality into Teams that tie into third-party solutions.

Today at Build 2017, Microsoft announced that it’s opening Teams up to all developers to publish apps through the Office Store. These apps will show up in a new app discovery experience to make it easy for users to add and utilize apps from within Teams.

In addition, two new capabilities have been added to the Developer Preview. First, compose extensions pull information from a service or app into chats to avoid distracting users with context switches. Second, third party notifications can now populate in the activity feed, allowing services to keep users alerted about key information and updates.

All of the developer platform capabilities — tabs, bots, connectors, compose extensions, and activity feed notifications — can be packaged into a Teams app and then published in the Office Store. All of the new Teams features will make their way to the Developer Preview first, and will then roll out to users over time.

Microsoft Presentation Translator add-in

Microsoft demonstrated a new add-in for Presentation that uses the company’s translation APIs to enable subtitles within presentations in the same or different languages. Developers and users can find out more about the Presentation Add-in here, as well as sign up for early access.

Microsoft Graph

The Microsoft Graph is the API that serves as the gateway for grabbing information from Microsoft services and platforms, including Office 365, Azure AD, and Intune. Microsoft announced new Microsoft Graph APIs and functionality to make it easier for developers to integrate intelligence and data, including the general availability of SharePoint site, OneNote, and Planner data APIs.

Actionable Messages

Outlook on the web previewed new Actionable Messages last fall, allowing users to perform actions like approving expense reports and assigning tasks to team members without leaving Outlook. Now, Actionable Messages functionality is being made available to additional Office 365 users via Microsoft Teams, and in Outlook 2016 for Windows desktop, if you’re an Office Insider on the Fast Ring.

Some new integrations will be coming from Salesforce, Freshdesk, Wrike, and other services, and new Actionable Message tools are being made available for developers. Go here for more information on building using the feature for Outlook and Teams.

More Office 365 updates

Other Office 365 announcements include new ways to create Office 365 Add-ins, an integrated sign-on system for the Microsoft Graph and other services, and new File Handler capabilities for OneDrive. In addition, Microsoft Flow received new capabilities allowing it to be integrated with applications like SharePoint, and to create focused and tailored business processes.

Microsoft will likely announce additional details on Office 365 and the tools that enable developers to leverage what the company calls the “largest productivity service available.” Developers can sign up for the Office Developer Program to stay up-to-date with all of Microsoft’s APIs.

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