The New Wave of SharePoint: #SPFx Release Candidate 0 #RC0 Available

Wave

The SharePoint Framework recently reached another milestone with the drop of the Release Candidate 0 (RC0) bits. You can read all of the technical details of this latest drop at GitHub.

Changes to The Framework

One of the many aspects of the framework GitHub project is how Microsoft has provided well-documented release notes for each drop. With RC0 this tread continues, I do hope this is what we can come to expect. Anyhow, if you have been working with the #SPFx Developer Preview, be sure to read the RC0 release notes, yet more importantly, I suggest you pay special attention to the section “what has changed in this code drop”. Those of you who have yet to work with the framework, your wait is almost over, the codebase is firming up, and we are expecting the GA release soon.

A Subset of the Most Significant Changes

sp-client-base package

Many interfaces were removed from this package and moved to other ones. In particular, HttpClient moved to a new package (sp-http) and others migrated to sp-page-context.

sp-client-preview package

This package is obsolete and you should no longer use it. Everything of value appears to be transitioned to proper release packages.

Sp-Core-Library package

This is a new package that contains essential core components of the framework. I am confident I will be using DisplayMode, EnvironmentType, and Guide often from this package.

sp-http package

This is our new HttpClient package. Because of the importance of aspects found within this new package, i.e., making REST calls and such, I am glad to see it all encapsulated in its own package.

Commonly Asked Questions

  1. Will existing code based on previous code drops work with the latest code drop?

The simplest answer is “no.” If you have been playing with the framework (creating custom web parts, etc.) assume you will either have to follow the instructions to update your code to RC0 or start over.

My recommendation is that you consider starting your project(s) / sample(s) over. Spending an hour or so copying your existing code into a new RC0 web part will likely be more straightforward than attempting to update your web part to work with RC0. Fortunately, Microsoft released an update path for most projects.

I have a few sample web parts built at GitHub, and I plan to update these all to RC0 as soon as possible.

  1. When the Framework goes to GA, will I have to start over again?

My understanding is that the major overhaul to the base packages found in RC0 is supposed to be the last substantial change. The GA drop will likely contain additional differences, but they are expected to be minor. If you upgrade to RC0 now, you should expect few if any issues when the GA drop is released. I suggest updating to RC0 before the GA drop if you want to have your web part(s) ready for production as quickly as possible.

  1. When should we expect the GA drop?

The SharePoint Framework GA drop date is not announced yet, although the roadmap still shows this happening sometime in Q1 of this year. While I cannot confirm this, it seems like a very reasonable timeframe.

There was an issue brought up by Andrew Connell during the January 5th, 2017 PnP SPFx, and JavaScript SIG Weekly Community call, and also documented on GitHub, regarding library dependency versioning. The concern surrounds dependencies on external components of the Framework, such as React. As AC pointed out, a library like React updates frequently. If we as coders are working off of a particular version of a dependency, and that then updates, or more importantly, the SPFx rolls out a dependency version upgrade, how might our code break? What documentation and guidance will be provided so that we can safely code our solutions with minimal fear that the SPFx won’t automatically break our solutions.

Vesa Juvonen of Microsoft acknowledged and agreed the issue exists and stated that guidance on this subject will be provided by GA. To me, that is a high bar to meet, but answers to these issues are necessary before the Framework is ready for general release. I am looking forward to their guidance.

My Key Takeaways

Over the last year, the changes made to the Framework have kept us on our toes, but witnessing the progress is exciting. What we see in RC0 looks very promising to me, and I continue to eagerly await the GA drop so we can begin using the Framework in production projects.

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