What is SharePoint Framework (SPFx)?

October 29, 2021

SharePoint Framework (SPFx) is Microsoft’s customization and extensibility development model recommended for all customers of Microsoft SharePoint. It is based on a modern web development stack and is the first Microsoft SharePoint model offering that can be used on any platform, with any JavaScript framework, to build SharePoint customizations.

If you run an enterprise-level organization, chances are that you have at least heard of Microsoft’s SharePoint platform. As a web-based collaborative platform, SharePoint has been hugely valuable for many enterprise-level businesses whose operations depend on how conveniently they optimize complex processes and securely distribute specific datasets.

However, one limitation users have faced with the platform is the limited integration potential outside the Microsoft universe. While Microsoft supports hundreds of integrations with numerous apps and parallel ecosystems, integrating SharePoint with other apps or legacy systems can be labor and resource intensive, as well as time-consuming. But SPFx is stepping in to change that narrative.

The platform’s implications are extensive and can have multiple beneficial effects such as faster collaboration and better productivity through easier SharePoint integrations. In this blog, our expert consultants explain what SPFx does for your organization, how it works, and the benefits you can expect.

A better way to use data with open source tools

SharePoint Framework is Microsoft’s newest development model for the new SharePoint user experience. Being both a page and web part model, it provides “full support for client-side SharePoint development, easy integration with SharePoint data, and extending Microsoft Teams.”

Essentially, SPFx is a simpler way of using and accessing data on SharePoint via the use of open source tools. The latest in a long line of SharePoint development models, SPFx is evolving the enterprise world, granting businesses more control over their data, and more compatibility with their processes.

SharePoint wasn’t always this easy. Older SharePoint websites were mediocre in utility and low on customization; often resulting in a mismatch with businesses who needed more control over their sites. Script editors were used to bridge the gap between Document Object Models (DOMs), but it was not an approach that worked for unscripted sites.

Luckily, SPFx is an upgraded model that grants developers access to deeper levels of SharePoint customization. They can work in a preferred environment and easily adjust the more complex parts of SharePoint to make it a better fit for a user or client. In addition, solutions built can be operated on any platform that runs on JavaScript.

SharePoint Framework Experiences in Microsoft 365

What are the benefits of SharePoint Framework?

SPFx is now the only model for building speedy, seamless, and reusable customizations in SharePoint modern. But in case these don’t convince you, here are a few more reasons why you should feel good about SPFx:

  • SPFx is framework-agnostic: You can use any JavaScript framework you are most familiar with including but not limited to React, Angular, knockout, handlebars, Vue.js, etc.
  • Reusable outcomes: Developing reusable code that can be shared & reused among many components can be beneficial. SharePoint Framework provides this feature to create standard services that many web parts can use.
  • Seamless execution: SPFx executes in the user’s browser so there is a total absence of iframes, lag, or waiting time.
  • Faster rendering: Even an extra second in page load time can add up to several hours in lost productivity per year. SPFx enables faster rendering in the browser and normal page DOMs.
  • Complete maneuverability: In addition to rendering and configuration changes, developers can access the lifecycle of all other SharePoint Framework components.
  • Compatibility with Microsoft products and cloudware: Not only can SPFx solutions be used to extend Microsoft Teams, they can also be plugged into any service available in the Microsoft Cloud.
  • Accessible to open-source development tools: SPFx is an open & connected platform. It leverages all the open-source tools & can be installed on any machine including tools like TypeScript, Yeoman, webpack and Gulp.
  • Universality: SPFx is great with mobile views of SharePoint online sites, and this works with both classic pages and modern SharePoint pages.
  • Controlled visibility: With SPFx, developers have more granular control over accessibility. They can share access to web parts in the App Catalog without needing to cede control or allow access to areas they don’t intend to share.

Benefits aside, it must be said that SharePoint Framework is just that – a Framework. You should still be analyzing the quality of code you and your team build, whether or not that requires outsourcing application development and integration functions to experienced solutions providers like i3solutions

When would you need SharePoint Framework?

When you want to extend the capabilities of your modern team sites, solutions based on the SharePoint Framework are your only option.

Importantly, you must note that SPFx is not limited to read-only use-cases. Think carousels that aggregate content, sophisticated search boxes that help you find content using the SharePoint Search API or the Office Graph; web parts showing information about users, projects, teams; or anything else that is stored in your SharePoint environment.

If the current user is allowed to write a specific list, you could build web parts that allow you to quickly add new items to a list or manage existing items. If you want to build such components for use in a modern team site, creating a SharePoint Framework-based solution is the way to go.

Using nothing other than client-side technology, you could build a web part or application using the JavaScript framework of your choice that communicates with SharePoint and also seamlessly integrates with modern team sites.

i3solutions will help you configure SharePoint Framework to meet your enterprise needs

With our deep insights into the industry and the Microsoft SharePoint Framework, i3solutions has helped organizations in various industries deliver hundreds of solutions, including SPFx customizations, integrations, and deployments. We are committed to helping businesses optimize their processes and securely distribute data assets across different teams and verticals.

We consult and execute for enterprise-level organizations interested in building projects on SPFx. If you have any questions about SPFx and how it might work for your organization, please get in touch with us. We’ll be delighted to hear from you!


Leave a Comment

Your feedback is valuable for us. Your email will not be published.

Please wait...