TechEd recap day 3: the one with the Country Drinks, Office and SharePoint development & a bit of Azure

Time flies when you’re having fun they say, and it’s certainly true over here at TechEd in Barcelona. Wednesday evening we had the Belgium & Luxembourg country drink in “Bestial” , a fantastic location near the beach, that served great food and drinks to the 250 BeLux attendees. Thanks to everyone who joined us! Over here you can find some more pictures and feel free to tweet yours as well (make sure to tweet to the @msdevbelux account).

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Renewed excitement for SharePoint developers
One of the recurring themes during this TechEd week is the exciting new capabilities for Office and SharePoint developers. Back in the days of let’s say SharePoint & Office 2007, these developers created so called SharePoint Solutions (.WSP files for the insiders) and Office Add-Ins (based on COM technology). Back then the sky was the limit for developers and you could pretty much customize everything you wanted. After SharePoint moved to the cloud, with SharePoint Online in Office 365, these development models are not available anymore. E.g. server side code is not allowed in SharePoint online, and many artefacts such as Site Definitions are also prohibited mainly due to the fact SharePoint Online is a multi-tenant solution: for example we don’t want code from Customer A having an impact on the sites of Customer B (which may be hosted on the same server). Personally I created many of those server-side SharePoint customizations and many other developers did the same. So the session Moving Full Trust Code to the Cloud Using Repeatable Patterns and Best Practices was very interesting. Many concrete samples were presented, with clear advice on how to move them forward. If you are into SharePoint development, a highly recommend place to check out is the Office 365 Developer Patterns and Practices wiki on GitHub. Over there you’ll find code samples showing you the way, based on proved patterns and practices.

As a SharePoint and/or Office developer you know these products have had rich .NET based API’s for a long time. This week at TechEd we announced the general availability of the Office365 API’s which are now REST-based. To get started using these API’s, check out the Getting Started page on the Office Dev Center. A quick and easy way to get to know these API’s better, is the API Sandbox. This, completely web based, sandbox will allow you to play around with ready-made code snippets, and even change them in your browser. To get an idea of what’s possible with these API’s, check out the work we are doing with IFTTT. Using the new Office 365 APIs, IFTTT will provide the ability to connect over 130 different services with Office 365 mail, contacts, calendar and files. The Office 365 channels in IFTTT will go live in the next few weeks and will be available for any Office 365 customer to use. Of course these API’s can be used on mobile apps as well, and very often it makes a lot of sense to actually do so. Therefore, this week at TechEd, we also announced the Office 365 SDK for iOS and Android. More details on these SDK’s over here.

Finally to drive greater visibility of the hard work developers are doing in Office 365, we announced the extensibility of the Office 365 app launcher. The Office 365 app launcher offers a customizable single point of access in Office 365 for people to access the apps they use daily. Developers can now have their apps visible right alongside Outlook, Yammer or OneDrive.

Of course, you can’t imagine a day at TechEd without any Azure news. Many announcements were made in the previous days (check out our recap of day 1 and day 2), and today you can find more details about all the news: