Almost 2 years ago, I wrote a post on how to setup up your SPFx developer environment because, at that time, I found the available documentation to be very “challenging” to understand. Since then, the official documentation has gotten much better and if you want a walk-through that explains everything, follow the link in the next paragraph. BLAH BLAH BLAH! Just take me to the code! Even though this post is more wordy than I like, this is the Quick Start guide I use when I am setting up a new computer to work with SPFx.
Recently, I had to set up a new development machine. These days, my primary development tasks are centered around SharePoint Framework (SPFx) solutions, so setting that up was my first goal. Everything was going smoothly until I tried to install the certificate that the development web server needs for developing SPFx solutions. From there, I descended down the certificate rabbit hole. After a couple of days of research and asking everyone I know for help, I was finally able to complete the task and decided that I better document it before I forget.
Conferences are slowing coming back and I am personally looking forward to talking to attendees, sponsors, and speakers in person again. First on the agenda this year is the M365 Collaboration Conference (formally the SharePoint Conference) in Orlando, FL, Jun 8-10. The “big” conference is still scheduled for Las Vegas in December, but this is a hybrid event that promises to be an exciting time as we transition from the virtual world we have lived in for the past year.
Recently, I built a web part for a client, which led to a discussion about why the web part background was static white, which did not reflect the branding on the page. My quick fix was to just change the color manually, but now I wanted to know more about how I could build webparts that are aware of the area that they are in. It turns out, there are several options, depending on the capabilities needed and the web part framework.
Microsoft warned us! The Document Object Model (DOM) on web pages was a common target in my pre-SPFx solutions, especially the ones that used jQuery. When SPFx came along, Microsoft was very clear that the classes and element ids on the modern page were not an API. By that, they meant that there was no contract with developers that those values would not change in the future. The future is here!
I recently ran into a situation where building and debugging a SPFx web part seemed to go off the rails. Then I figured out that my normal pattern of skipping the ‘gulp clean’ command during project deployment had cause what I thought was bizarre behavior in Site Collection Features and toolbox. I was working for a client that does not have a dedicated development or QA environment due primarily to political reasons.
As the development pendulum has swung back to the “front end,” I find a majority of my time in VS Code. Back in the early days of VS Code, I missed the rich toolset of Visual Studio, but as I became more comfortable with the combination of command line and graphical interfaces in VS Code, as well as the explosion of awesome extensions for VS Code, I found myself opening Visual Studio less and less.
For the several years now, I have concentrated on helping developers to get started coding in the SharePoint Framework (SPFx). My primary message has always been that, “despite it being a complete departure from previous coding approaches in the SharePoint, it’s not as difficult as it seems and you should just give it a try.” I am updating that presentation to include recent changes to SPFx as I prepare for upcoming engagements at North American Collaboration Summit (NACS) and ShareCloud Summit and will post it on this site when available.