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React is the UI framework for extending SharePoint

Many web developers recall working with Sharepoint as a web CMS as a horrible tool. Customization the table structures generated by the proprietary backend code was the antithesis in the heydays of the web standard movement in the 2000's.

Fast forward to 2016 and Sharepoint is no longer targeted at being a Web Content Management System (WCMS) at all by Microsoft. It's now mostly deployed as an intranet / extranet tool on the cloud as a part of Microsoft's Office 365 service.

Obviously customization is still something that needs to be done even in such environments. As a stark change to it's previous approaches where it has tried to push it's own product, Microsoft has decided to adopt React as the recommended UI library for extending Sharepoint:

Fabric’s robust, up-to-date components are built with the React framework. Look through the component list to see the building blocks that are available using Fabric React.
- Microsoft Office Fabric React Components Library

The company already ships a number of ready made components that Sharepoint developers can use to extend the platform using React components. Instead of server side heavy integration work, the browser is now the preferred integration layer for Office 365.

This move is a part of Microsoft's Fabric toolkit initiative to help developers integrate with the company's cloud services. Also, together with Apple adopting React for it's API documentation, this pretty much wipes out doubts of React not being suitable for commercial web development due to licensing issues.

All the components are licensed under the MIT license, which means they are very useful for developers to embed into their own applications. Unlike the WordPress Calypso components, licensed under the GPL, these are worry free to use in your own applications.

Learn more about how to use Microsoft Fabric React Compontents to extend Office 365: Use Office UI Fabric React components in your SharePoint client-side web part

Written by Jorgé on Saturday November 12, 2016

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