Rich, actionable insights and Power Apps integration come to Microsoft Teams

At its ongoing Build 2022 conference, Microsoft announced a set of features for its popular collaboration software, Teams. While some of these features require action from developers, they should ultimately result in a better experience for end users.

For starters, Teams will soon support deploying links to surface richer actionable card previews. For app links, developers will need to update their app manifesto with some minor changes. Meanwhile, for other links such as those pointing to websites, web authors will need to take advantage of schema.org structured metadata and tag actions for their website. This feature will be previewed in the summer.

During the same period, low-code developers will be able to take advantage of collaboration controls in Power Apps to integrate Teams and Microsoft 365 collaboration features such as chat, meetings, tasks, files, and approvals directly into their Power Apps. The Microsoft Graph APIs for Teams, currently available in preview, can also help developers in this area.

Meanwhile, the Teams JavaScript 2.0 SDK and associated manifest tools have reached general availability (GA). These allow organizations to develop Teams apps that can be extended to Office.com and Outlook. In the same vein, the Approvals APIs will be available in preview this summer. These will allow customers to create approval workflows in line of business (LOB) applications.

Microsoft also highlighted new live sharing experiences in Teams. These enable independent software vendors (ISVs) to create richer experiences for applications shared through Teams. For example, they could allow users to annotate, zoom, and edit an app. An example of Hexagon’s Live Share prototype for collaboratively annotating and editing 3D models can be seen above. ISVs can also register for a private preview of the Application Compliance Automation Tool to have their applications secure and certified by Microsoft.

Developers actively working on Teams will be happy to know that Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio Code and Teams Toolkit CLI have reached GA. These help developers migrate existing web apps to Teams, create notification mechanisms, and more. However, the same toolkit for Visual Studio 2022 is currently only in preview.

A screenshot of in-app purchases in Microsoft Teams

Developers building apps for Teams should also be aware that enhanced discoverability in the Teams App Store via smart recommendations and app flyouts is now generally available. There is also a “featured apps” section for better visibility. Developers can also use new APIs to configure in-app purchases, and better licensing capabilities will also be previewed this summer.

Finally, it will be possible to create Loop components using your existing adaptive cards from next month, but only in private preview. Once capacity reaches GA, these components can be copied and pasted into Outlook and Teams, and will stay in sync.

Rosemary C. Kearney