Today at the Connect(); //2015 Developer Virtual Event, the Office Extensibility and Azure Active Directory teams announced the general availability of the Microsoft Graph (formerly known as the “Office 365 Unified API”). The Microsoft Graph is a major win for developers because it provides a single endpoint that can be called to access a wide variety of data sources including users, files, messages, groups, events, contacts, mail, calendar, and others. The sources are all accessed in a standard way using OpenID Connect and OAuth 2.0, which can be used in a both Microsoft and non-Microsoft development scenarios. Figure 1 shows a graphical representation of clients and services using the Microsoft Graph model.
Figure 1: Clients and service architecture with the Microsoft Graph
You can explore the capabilities of the Microsoft Graph online with the API Explorer. If you have an Office 365 tenancy, you can log into the API Explorer and then begin to form RESTful queries. Table 1 has a set of queries to try along with a brief explanation. Just be sure to copy the hyperlink and log in to test it. Some of the capabilities (such as Delve queries) are still in preview and require the “beta” endpoint, while the released capabilities use the “v1.0” endpoint. You can check out the endpoint documentation here.
Table 1: Common Microsoft Graph endpoints
After you explore the endpoints, you’ll want to create an application that exercises them in code. To get started developing against the Microsoft Graph, you’ll first need to get an Office 365 tenancy, which developers can easily get by visiting the Office Developer Center and signing up for the Office 365 Developer Program. The Office Developer Center also has a lot of information and samples for developers using different technologies and devices.
The release of the Microsoft Graph to general availability is a significant milestone for developers because it brings much-needed clarity to the development picture. Over the past few years, developers have been presented with a variety of RESTful endpoints from products like SharePoint, Yammer, Office 365, and more. While these endpoints can still be useful, the Microsoft Graph is clearly a must-learn for all developers whether they are focused on Office, SharePoint, or just general web development. I’ve been working with the beta endpoints for a while, and I’m looking forward to sharing some new articles on IT Unity that showcase the power of the Microsoft Graph.