Office 365 Development at the BUILD Keynote: What Rob said is IMPORTANT

Rob Lefferts reveals important terminology changes

Dan Holme

by Dan Holme on 4/29/2015

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This morning, Rob Lefferts, GM at Microsoft and all-around great guy... who, by the way, effectively runs engineering for Office... took the stage with Satya Nadella to unveil the pillars of what we'll learn about Office 365 and development for Office 365 and Office applications.

He showed off an add-in for SAP running in Excel. This is not Duet–this is an add-in. The terminology is important to understand. What used to be called "Office apps" are now "add-ins." These are not COM add-ins. They're the next step in modern app development in what was called the "app model", now the "add-in model." Microsoft made the change in terminology, along with the change from "Windows apps" to "Universal Windows apps" to start clarifying some customer confusion. There are other reasons behind the change in terminology that are more interesting, which I hope I can share later.

What's AWESOME about these add-ins is that not only can an add-in run within a client (Excel, for example) but also online (Excel online, for example) and, as demonstrated last week by Jeremy Thake at SharePoint Evolution, on iOS versions of Office--with Android certainly in the wings. So you write an add-in for Outlook, Excel, Word or PowerPoint... once... and it can be used by anyone, anywhere, on any device, who uses Office. INCREDIBLE.

Rob also mentioned the Unified API for Office 365, the new term for what was being called in pre-release the Graph API. This is the one, unified namespace for APIs that expose Office 365 services. There is going to be a LOT more announced about the APIs as the week progresses.

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