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SharePoint Framework Hits Release Candidate Milestone

This week Microsoft announced that its SharePoint Framework for devs is entering the final testing phase.

On Monday, Microsoft released Release Candidate 0 of the framework for testing purposes. It's described in the release notes as being "pretty much what the final release will look like," although a couple of problems are being fixed. Microsoft plans to release a series of release candidates this week that could have changes that will break customized SharePoint Webparts.

"If your webpart starts failing, you've probably been upgraded," Microsoft's release notes cautioned.

The SharePoint Framework is Microsoft's effort to shift toward a more developer-friendly SharePoint, and was one of the main talking points during Microsoft's SharePoint 2016 product launch in May. The framework leans more toward "modern" client-side development, rather than server-side development for Web applications used with SharePoint Sites. The framework is based on open source JavaScript (React and Angular), plus support for Web developer tools like Yeoman and Gulp, with use of Microsoft's Visual Studio integrated development environment also being part of the plan.

The different approach Microsoft took with the SharePoint Framework is explained in this blog post by Waldek Mastykarz, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional. He also noted that it's possible to test the SharePoint Framework using a Docker image, in another blog post.

The SharePoint Framework has been at the preview stage since its initial release in August. It's not a public release. Microsoft just intends its use by developer tenant users.

The "release candidate" stage signifies that the product is feature complete but still undergoing testing for flaws. It's at the stage before "general availability," which is when Microsoft deems it ready for use in production environments by organizations.

At this point, Microsoft is planning to release a series of release-candidate versions of the framework before general product release. Those releases will be a limited to just some developers.

"We're rolling out Release Candidate 0 of SharePoint Framework starting today to a small number of tenancies," an announcement by Microsoft explained. "This rollout will increase over time to all tenancies, based on feedback, but likely happen over the course of next week."

These releases could contain "different and breaking" APIs, Microsoft warned. Consequently, developers using the preview should check to see if their code was affected.

The arrival date of the general availability release was unspecified in the announcements. It will depend on getting developer feedback.

"General Availability will follow closely behind these release candidates based on your feedback, so now is a good time to finish up and polish your parts so that they are ready to be deployed to customers at the GA date," Microsoft advised.

The documentation for the framework may lag the software releases, according to the release notes. However, some resources can be found in Microsoft's extensive SharePoint Patterns and Practices collection. It was newly updated this month.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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