Office platform news at Ignite 2016

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Over the past year, Office has gained incredible momentum, with people around the world using our apps and services in the cloud and on all devices to be more productive wherever they go. Along with this period of usage growth, Office has also grown tremendously as a platform. For example, the share of users connecting third-party apps and services to Office 365 has quadrupled over the last 12 months. This is a testament to the fact that—as useful as Office is on its own—we can help people be even more productive by partnering with developers to build solutions tailored to our customers’ business needs.

At Ignite this week, we are announcing the next set of Office platform functionality, giving developers the tools they need to build even more compelling productivity applications with the Office platform.

You’ll find a brief summary of the news below, and you can read through our full set of announcements at

Web and device apps—build smarter apps by connecting to Office services through Microsoft Graph

Microsoft Graph is our unified API for accessing data and intelligence in the Microsoft cloud. Developers can connect to the context and insights in Microsoft Graph to make their standalone web and device applications smarter and more productive.

We launched Microsoft Graph almost a year ago, and it has grown dramatically since then—both in terms of usage and capabilities. Microsoft Graph is now used in tens of thousands of first- and third-party applications and is used by millions of people every day.

At Ignite this year, we expanded the Graph beyond pure cloud to hybrid environments, added a collection of new APIs like SharePoint sites and lists and made it easier to call from a variety of platforms through a broader set of SDKs.

Add-ins and web parts—make your solution a native part of the modern Office

Extending Office apps with custom experiences is one of the original Office extensibility scenarios and is still one of the most popular. We want to make sure that you can build the same rich extensions to Office experiences in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and SharePoint that you could build with technologies like Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO), COM and full-trust code. But we want to do it with the best and latest web technologies, and we want it to work everywhere modern Office runs.

Many of our Ignite announcements are steps toward that goal. We expanded the set of apps that support these new models with the SharePoint Framework and OneNote add-ins, and we expanded the set of platforms where they run by adding Outlook add-in support to the Mac. We also enabled a wider variety of UX integration points, exposed a deeper set of functionality through our APIs and enabled new methods for managing and distributing these extensions.

Voice, video, connectors and bots—create the next generation of productivity experiences

At Build this year, Qi Lu talked about an emerging new platform based on natural language and conversations augmented with custom services. At Ignite, we are making several announcements about the new types of productivity experiences you can build with Office.

No user interface is as natural as natural language, and magically productive things happen when you can connect someone to another person or a service through smart conversations, bots and agents. We’ve expanded Connector support to users’ personal inboxes, enabled capabilities that make email and messages more actionable and continued to improve our capabilities for embedding voice and video powered by Skype for Business in custom applications.

Start building!

As always, your starting point for all things related to the Office platform is Find everything you need to get started with all of today’s announcements there. If you’re here with us at Ignite, come see detailed sessions on many of these announcements and visit us at the Office Developer booth to ask questions from Office extensibility engineers. Watch for future updates on Twitter via @OfficeDev and provide your ideas and feedback on UserVoice.

Happy coding!

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