Build collaborative apps with Microsoft Teams

The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the role of technology as a core enabler for hybrid work, and developers are at the heart of this transformation. Last Microsoft Build, we introduced collaborative apps, a new app pattern designed to bring people, processes, and data together to help users thrive in the hybrid workplace. Just like mobile devices completely transformed how people consume software, collaborative apps are transforming how people in every organization work together.

With more than 270 million monthly active users, Microsoft Teams offers developers an unmatched opportunity to build collaborative apps. Since the beginning of 2020, monthly active users of custom-built or third-party apps in Teams have grown more than tenfold. There are more than 1,400 Teams apps, with more and more independent software vendors (ISVs) generating millions in annual revenue from customers using their apps built on Teams and Microsoft 365 services. Looking ahead, we expect emerging technologies that bring the digital and physical worlds together, like Microsoft Mesh for Teams, to open new engaging possibilities for collaborative experiences on Teams. 

This year at Build 2022, we are sharing several enhancements and new capabilities for developers building collaborative apps for Teams and Microsoft 365. Watch my keynote with Charles Lamanna, Innovate with collaborative apps and low code, to view the highlights. Read on to get a full recap of our Build announcements, which are organized here in three sections: new ways to help you delight your users with rich collaborative experiences, scale your productivity and grow user engagement, and monetize your apps. We can’t wait to see what you will build with these innovations!

Delight users with rich collaborative experiences

Introducing Live Share: Interactive app experiences in Teams meetings

We are introducing Live Share, a capability for your apps to go beyond passive screen sharing and enable participants to co-watch, co-edit, co-create, and more in Teams meetings. Developers can use new preview extensions to the Teams SDK to easily extend existing Teams apps and create Live Share experiences in meetings. Live Share is backed by the power of Fluid Framework, which supports sophisticated synchronization of state, media, and control actions with only front-end development. This synchronization will run on Teams hosted and managed Microsoft Azure Fluid Relay service instance—at no cost to you. Our early partners building Live Share experiences include Frame.io, Hexagon, Skillsoft, MakeCode, Accenture, Parabol, and Breakthru. Watch our Live Share on-demand session and try out the new Teams SDK extensions.

In motion demonstration of Live Share collaboration in Microsoft Teams.

Figure 1. Hexagon Live Share prototype enables engineers to annotate and edit 3D models and simulations, while they brainstorm together in Teams meetings.

Fluid Framework and Azure Fluid Relay general availability

Fluid Framework is a collection of open-source, client-side JavaScript libraries that underpin the Live Share real-time collaboration capabilities. Azure Fluid Relay is a fully managed cloud service that supports Fluid Framework Clients. Developers are using Fluid Framework and Azure Fluid Relay to enable real-time interactivity on their apps beyond Microsoft Teams meetings. Fluid Framework, the Azure Fluid Relay service, and the corresponding Azure Fluid client-side SDK will be ready for production scenarios and available in mid-2022. Subscribe to Microsoft Developer Blogs for updates. Watch the on-demand session to learn more about building collaborative web apps with Fluid Framework and Azure Fluid Relay.

Create Loop components by updating Adaptive Cards

Microsoft Loop components are live, actionable units of productivity that stay in sync and move freely across Microsoft 365 apps starting with Teams chat and Microsoft Outlook. Today, we are announcing the ability for developers to create Loop components. Now you can easily evolve an existing Adaptive Card into a Loop component or create a new Adaptive Card-based Loop component. Additionally, Adaptive Card-based Loop components can be surfaced with Editor using Context IQ, our set of intelligent capabilities working in the background of Microsoft apps and services, to stay directly in the flow of composing an email. Zoho Projects is using these Adaptive Card-based Loop components to help its customers improve incident response times, reduce outage durations, and improve overall performance against service-level agreements (SLAs), by enabling users to complete these tasks across Teams and Outlook. Zoho Projects and ServiceDesk Plus Cloud are among the first products integrated with Microsoft 365 apps to implement Microsoft Loop. Developer private preview for this capability starts in June 2022. Subscribe to Microsoft Developer Blogs or follow us on Twitter @Microsoft365Dev for updates.

In motion demonstration of Zoho Projects using the Adaptive Card-based Loop components for legal approval.

Figure 2. Zoho Projects is extending adaptive cards to be live, actionable Loop components that work across Teams and Outlook.

Introducing Microsoft Azure Communication Services sample app builder

Microsoft Azure Communication Services interoperability with Teams enables you to create experiences that support seamless communications between customers on any custom app or website and employees working in Teams. For example, Teladoc Health built the first-of-its-kind custom fully integrated clinical and administrative virtual healthcare solution that allows care team collaboration and access to relevant clinical data directly within Teams, and the ability to seamlessly deliver virtual care to patients who join from a custom app.

Side-by-side display of Teladoc Health custom app for virtual healthcare. Clinical team view to the left showing patient and patient view to the right showing physician.

Figure 3. Teladoc Health is enabling care providers to work and connect from Teams while patients join from a custom app built using Azure Communication Services.

Today, we are introducing the Azure Communication Services sample app builder, enabling developers to easily build and deploy a sample application for virtual appointments in just a few minutes, with no coding needed. Through the sample app, customers can book appointments powered by Microsoft Bookings and join a Teams meeting through a custom web app with a company-branded experience, while staff use Teams to join scheduled appointments. The sample app is fully open source and developers can tap into the code for more customization. Visit Github to learn more.

Microsoft Graph API enhancements to embed chats and channel messages into your apps

Microsoft Graph chat APIs enable developers to embed Teams chats into their applications, enabling their users to collaborate seamlessly without having to switch back and forth across apps. We are introducing several new APIs in preview with capabilities such as enabling chats with federated users (like users outside your tenant), identifying which messages are read and unread by the current user, and subscribing to user chats and membership changes. These new APIs will be generally available in mid-2022. Visit our chat message resource type docs page and view the on-demand session to learn more.

SharePoint Framework and Microsoft Viva Connections

SharePoint is the most flexible content collaboration platform powering experiences across Microsoft 365. SharePoint Framework now lets you create parts and pages in SharePoint sites, Teams apps, and more. It is at the center of our extensibility capabilities for the new Microsoft Viva Connections employee experience platform. Check out the how-to session on building tailored employee experiences for Viva Connections that directly integrate with Teams apps.

Side-by-side view of Viva Connections in mobile app and home site in Teams.

Figure 4. A sample Microsoft Viva Connections app running in both Teams and on a mobile device.

Approvals extensibility

Approvals in Microsoft Teams help everyone—from frontline workers to office workers—to easily create, manage, and share approvals directly in the flow of work. We are introducing create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) APIs for Approvals. Developers can use the Approvals APIs to enable approvals within line of business apps and use webhooks to track changes and drive workflows with Approvals in Teams. The Approvals APIs will be available for preview in mid-2022. Subscribe to Microsoft Developer Blogs for updates. View the on-demand session to learn more.

Scale developer productivity

Build once and deploy anywhere across Teams and Microsoft 365

Today, we are announcing the general availability of the new Teams SDK that enables you to build apps for Teams, Outlook, and Office using a single application and deployment model and build collaborative apps that make use of the capabilities relevant to each product. Developers can now upgrade to the latest Teams JS SDK v2 and App manifest v1.13 to build production Teams apps, and run full-scale pilots with users on the preview channels of Outlook and Office. This will enable developers to get feedback and prepare for the distribution of their apps on Outlook and Office later this calendar year.

These updates are backward compatible so all your existing Teams apps will continue to work as-is in Teams with production-level support. Our Teams developer experience including our Microsoft Teams Developer Documentation, tooling, support, and code repository has been updated to support extended apps. You will be able to distribute both single-tenant and multi-tenant apps using existing Teams experiences. To learn more, check out our on-demand session about extending Teams apps across Microsoft 365.

In motion demonstration of MURAL extending personal tabs and search-based message extensions.

Figure 5. MURAL is extending its Teams app’s personal tabs and search-based message extensions to other Microsoft host apps.

MURAL is among the early partners bringing the connected experience across Teams, Outlook, and Office to life with their apps, like the example above showing a search-based message extension inserting a MURAL directly into the Outlook message as an interactive Adaptive Card. In addition to MURAL, several other partners, including Adobe, eCare Vault, go1, monday.com, Polly, ServiceNow, SurveyMonkey, and Zoho have helped us get these new tools ready and we are excited to make them generally available to everyone at Microsoft Build.

Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio Code and CLI now generally available

Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, and command-line interface (CLI) are tools for building Teams and Microsoft 365 apps, fast. Whether you’re new to Teams platform or a seasoned developer, Teams Toolkit is the best way to create, build, debug, test, and deploy apps. Today we are excited to announce the Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio Code and CLI is now generally available (GA). Developers can start with scenario-based code scaffolds for notification and command-and-response bots, automate upgrades to the latest Teams SDK version, and debug apps directly to Outlook and Office. Get started building apps with Teams Toolkit today.

Github screen view for developers demonstration scenario-based code scaffolds.

Figure 6. Building a notification app for Microsoft Teams using the Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio Code.

Collaboration Controls in Power Apps

We are announcing Collaboration Controls in Power Apps to let developers drag and drop Microsoft 365 collaboration features like Teams chats, meetings, files, Tasks by Planner, and more right inside custom apps built with Power Apps. Collaboration Controls will be available in preview in mid-2022. View the on-demand session to learn more. Subscribe to the Power Apps blog for updates.

Grow user engagement and monetize your apps

App Compliance Automation Tool for Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 App Compliance Program is designed to evaluate and showcase the trustworthiness of application-based industry standards, such as SOC 2, PCI DSS, and ISO 27001 for security, privacy, and data handling practices. We are announcing the preview of the App Compliance Automation Tool for Microsoft 365 for applications built on Azure to help them accelerate the compliance journey of their apps. With this tool, developers can automate a significant number of tasks to achieve the certification faster and easier. This tool also produces reports that can be easily shared by developers to help IT gain visibility of app security and compliance. Learn more from our App Compliance Automation Tool for Microsoft 365 docs page.

Improved app management and discoverability

The Teams Store helps users find the right apps through updated app categories, curated app collections, featured top apps, and intelligent recommendations based on what colleagues and peers are using. This Microsoft Build, we are making available a central experience within the Teams Store to help users track the apps they are using across various Teams and group chats, and see what permissions are required by these apps. We are also making the discovery of apps through tabs, message extensions, and connectors more contextual to help users find the right apps and grow usage of the ISV apps in Teams. For example, in the context of composing messages, the message extension suggestions will be organized by tasks and actions users can take with it. Lastly, users on mobile devices can now add your apps right from the mobile device, such as from a link or QR code.

In-app purchasing for Teams apps

A top request from partners and developers is to provide the ability to include a paywall experience directly from within your Teams app. This gives you the ability to turn a free app into a freemium version, where you can choose when to prompt your users when to subscribe to your app. The new in-app purchase functionality is available today and can be invoked with a few lines of code. Learn more from our in-app purchases docs page.

Microsoft Teams subscription plan options for in-app purchasing.

Figure 7. Developers can enable freemium upgrades directly within Teams with a few lines of code.

Teams app license management

Another area we are making advancements in is enabling users to manage and assign purchased licenses. It’s previously been up to developers to build the license management component into their solution, whether on their landing page or directly within the app. To help streamline the license management experience, we will soon be offering the ability for you to offload the license management capabilities to Microsoft where users can manage and assign licenses—directly in Teams. License management in Teams will be available in preview in mid-2022.

New collaborative apps coming to Teams

We are excited to see ISVs bringing innovative collaborative apps to Teams across a broad range of scenarios. Here are just a few examples of the new apps available now or coming soon:

  • MURAL app for Teams gives teams everywhere the ability to bring a shared collaboration space directly into Microsoft Teams. Users can improve teamwork with asynchronous visual collaboration, and transform disengaged conversations into productive, engaging meetings and workshops using hundreds of templates and proven, guided methods that empower teams to deliver breakthrough results. MURAL is a Microsoft preview partner, and the MURAL app now works across Teams, Outlook, and Office for a single, connected experience.
  • Observable app for Teams allows companies to bring their data, context, and logic together in one place to uncover insights collaboratively and accelerate data-driven decision-making across the organization. New updates coming to the Observable app in June 2022 will offer Microsoft Teams notifications when collaborating through comments in Observable.
  • SAP S/4HANA operational purchaser chatbot provides collaborative capabilities of Microsoft Teams to SAP S/4HANA users within a conversational user experience. It uses Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) authentication and leverages Microsoft Graph APIs to allow users to call other parties or schedule Teams meetings with business partners directly from the bot in the context of the authenticated business user. This provides tight integration of the Teams collaboration experience in a standalone app in SAP, bringing connectivity and collaboration where users need them.
  • ServiceDesk Plus Cloud app from ManageEngine, Zoho’s enterprise IT management division, leverages Microsoft Teams to streamline business and IT service delivery, manage and accelerate IT incident resolutions, and improve service experience across the enterprise. Coming soon, the ServiceDesk Plus Cloud app will enhance its existing static Adaptive Cards with Loop components, which will allow everyone working on the ticket to get the latest updates and trigger service desk tasks without switching tabs.
  • Figma, the collaborative design platform, is introducing a new app that will enable teams to share, present, and collaborate in real-time on Figma and FigJam files within a Teams meeting. The app also leverages the new Adaptive Card functionality so when a user shares a link to a Figma or FigJam file in a Teams chat, the card unfurls, allowing users to open the file from within Teams. Users can also view and respond to file notifications directly from Teams. The Figma app will be available later in 2022 in the Teams app store.

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