The State of SharePoint and Office 365 Development: An interview with Microsoft’s Vesa Juvonen

4 min read
4 min read

In our 2015 State of SharePoint and Office 365 Development report, we wanted to look at how the SharePoint and Office 365 community is changing and developing in the rise of digital age and cloud technology.

In 2016, we again set out to create a snapshot of what the community looks like: how they’re working, what they’re working with, what environments they’re using and how it has changed year on year. The success of 2015’s report and the ever-changing nature of technology today encouraged us to make the report a yearly occurrence. And this year’s return also coincided with the much-anticipated release of SharePoint 2016.

Vesa JuvonenTalking about all things SharePoint development and Office 365 we’re extremely pleased to bring you two exclusive interviews with industry experts. One of which is with Vesa Juvonen, a Senior Program Manager within SharePoint engineering at Microsoft. He has contributed to SharePoint development for years and, with his inside knowledge of the platform’s development, is well placed to help further explain this year’s results.

You can find the full interview in our State of SharePoint and Office 365 Development report, 2016, which you can download for free today. But, below are some of Vesa’s key insights.

The survey showed that the community is active. How much of an impact do they have on Microsoft’s choices and product features/launches? Vesa Juvonen says:


“Community input is one of the key drivers for our product and service development. In the past when we released products every three years, things were different and we didn’t have such great possibilities for gathering community input around the new feature areas. Now that we are releasing new versions of the service pretty much every week, the situation is completely different and we can change our plans based on community input and feedback around the newly introduced capabilities. If you are being active in the community channels, you can see that the feature or capability owners are more and more visible and helping with questions. This is also because we truly want to ensure that newly introduced capabilities are fulfilling their objectives.

The most visible way in which Microsoft is being more active within the community is the model where we want to release new capabilities early for preview usage. This will help the community know from an early stage what new capabilities are being released and how they work. It also gives Microsoft an opportunity to get direct feedback and input from the community around the upcoming features.”

57% of respondents believe Microsoft’s encouragement to do more client-side development has affected their job. What examples are there of this?


“Client-side development in this context means more and more JavaScript-based implementations. This journey started already with the add-in model, but the upcoming SPFx (SharePoint Framework) will take the whole client-side development experience to another level with a trusted framework for increasing the productivity of the developers. Client-side development is needed when you customize your SharePoint Online from a UI perspective since there are no alternative options like farm solutions. This transition will also modernize the UX experience since with client-side development you can implement a much more fluent user experience than with classic server-side code.

It’s also important to realize that client-side development is a change on the user interface side. It does not mean that all development will happen as client-side development because, as with the add-in model, you commonly need to have back-end services or web services, which extend the possibilities for client-side development. This means that in the common enterprise scenarios you will be still combining both client-side development and server side development. Server side code will not be in SharePoint like farm solutions but will be implemented in external platforms, like in Azure for SharePoint Online, using your chosen server side language.”

In terms of the future, what can Vesa Juvonen tell us about new changes, developments, and things to prepare for?


“SharePoint customizations are increasingly aligned with generic web development with the introduction of SharePoint Framework, which will land in the on-premises world during 2017. This will obviously be a big deal for developers from both an opportunity and learning perspective. We will work together with the community by providing the needed guidance and insights for adapting these new capabilities so that the transition will be as easy as possible for all community members.

There will also be more and more native “in rails” experiences, meaning that you can achieve typical customizations and functional objectives in easier ways, without removing your options to customize experiences. In SharePoint Online, we are on a journey to provide more “modern experiences”, which will also support customizations built specifically for deployments. This means great opportunities for our partners, but also more native capabilities if you prefer not to customize SharePoint with code but with configuration options available within browser instead.”


Another thank you to Vesa Juvonen for his contribution.

We hope you enjoyed hearing a small snippet of what Vesa had to say. For the full interview, plus to hear what Microsoft MVP and Rencore dev dude Waldek Mastykarz had to say, get your complimentary report here.


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