Microsoft Teams is getting updates – a lot of updates. At its Microsoft Build 2021 digital event this week, the company unveiled new features, a new portal for developers, and new subscription purchase experiences, and much more.
Enhanced Teams extensibility for meetings
Microsoft is adding new features to the Teams app for meetings which was launched last year to provide developers with tools to build more interactive and productive apps that help connect people to solve common goals and design experiences across the full lifecycle of a meeting. The company says the following new features will allow developers to build more unique meeting scenarios.
Shared stage integration: Currently in preview, this new feature will provide developers with new access to the main stage to enable real-time, multi-user collaboration experiences for their Teams meetings apps, all through a simple configuration in their app manifest. Some of these collaboration experiences include whiteboarding, design and project boards.
New meeting event APIs: Also in preview, the new meeting event APIs will allow developers to automate meeting-related workflows through events, such as meeting start and end. The company says it will be releasing many more meeting event APIs later this year.
Together mode extensibility: To be launched soon, Microsoft says this new feature will enable developers to make meetings more engaging by being able to create custom scenes for Teams and sharing them with users.
Media APIs and resource-specific content: Also coming soon, this new feature will enable developers to gain real-time access to audio and video streams for note-taking, translation, transcription and insights gathering.
New features to simplify Teams app development
In preview, Microsoft says new features for Teams toolkit for visual studio and visual studio code will simplify the Teams app development experience by reducing the amount of code needed, providing out-of-the-box integrations with Microsoft Azure, tapping into data from the Microsoft Graph, including single-line Microsoft Graph client, and streamlined hosting to an integrated development environment.
New Developer portal for Teams
Now available, the new Developer portal for Microsoft Teams (formerly App Studio) provides each developer with a dedicated app management console available via the web or within Teams to register and configure apps within a single, central location.
As part of the new features for the Developer portal, Microsoft says it’s allowing developers to access the portal from any device and browser; manage environment configurations, eliminating the need to manage multiple app manifests in different environments; collaborate with peers by giving read/write access to others to collaborate and update apps, and enable independent service vendors to link software as a service offers to their apps for new in-Teams purchase experiences.
Message extensions in Teams and Outlook on the web
Microsoft announced Outlook now supports message extensions, providing a unified development experience of building message extensions that work with both Microsoft Teams and Outlook on the web. This means users can select a new menu of search-based message extensions when composing a message. For example, the company explained, a user may be able to compose an email and then select a message extension that surfaces tasks from their project management Teams app to send to teammates.
Universal actions for adaptive cards in Teams and Outlook
Users will no longer have to build two separate Adaptive Cards integrations for Outlook and Teams. Adaptive Cards allow developers to easily share user interface data so experiences are consistent across multiple apps and services.
Now available, universal actions enable one bot-based integration to works on both Outlook and Teams, allowing developers to build one Adaptive Card and deploy it across Microsoft Teams and Outlook, using the new universal Action. Execute action model.
New subscription purchase experiences
To be launched soon, this new feature will allow users and IT admins to purchase third-party app license subscriptions directly from the Teams app store and admin centre, making the license procurement process easier for users and providing Microsoft partners with additional monetization opportunities for their solutions. The company says invoice billing and credit cards will be accepted across Teams app store and admin centre.
Fluid components in Teams chat
Microsoft is introducing fluid components in Teams chat which it says will allow users to send a message with a table, action items, or a list that can be co-authored and edited by everyone in line, minimizing the need for long chat threads and meetings.
Users will be able to edit fluid components in real-time or asynchronously and work across surfaces, such as Teams and Office apps. They will also be able to copy and paste across Teams chats for increased efficiency. Currently in private preview, Microsoft says it will be expanding fluid components in Teams chat in the coming months.