After receiving feedback from customers, Microsoft made some major changes to solve development and administrator problems found in SharePoint 2010. Most of the developers wrote managed code as farm solutions. These highly custom (mainly UI) farm solutions, if not upgraded properly, prevented administrators from upgrading to the latest version of SharePoint causing fragmentation. In addition, the code ran on SharePoint servers which affected the performance of out of the box SharePoint services. There are not enough developers to go around in the industry to help support the enormous corporate demand for SharePoint. Microsoft needed a way to solve all these problems at once without breaking a fast growing platform.
In the recent years, Microsoft started introducing front end development possibilities. I didn’t buy it at first (SPC12) because you didn’t have the robustness of .Net at your disposal. This new app model exposed all your front end code for the world to steal. However, it solved all the previous development and administration problems. The processing was done on the client devices instead of the server, and the app model makes server upgrading seamless. At SPC14, there wasn’t much of difference for developers. There were around 200 apps in the SharePoint app store at that time. Then they blew people’s minds, stating that they were converting popular Office solutions to have RESTful API endpoints. Hmm. If you wanted to develop for Exchange in an app, how would you even begin to go about doing that? By giving developers the same simple way to code (REST) across multiple platforms, something huge is birthed. You open the door for a larger group of developers, not just .Net developers, to adopt your platforms and solutions for apps on any device.
Shortly later a unified API called Office Graph was introduced. This merged all the Office REST APIs (SharePoint, Word, Outlook, Excel, Notes, PowerPoint and Yammer) into a single API without the need to learn different URI syntaxes or register your app for multiple API solution authentications. They also allowed third parties to extend the graph’s RESTful endpoint with their own data and solutions (Salesforce). This was more than hot, it was glazed with goodness.
Then at Connect() 2015, they introduced Microsoft Graph (formerly Office Graph), because the other businesses in Microsoft wanted in on the fun. This company is moving faster than I can keep up. Every time you look up, something new is announced that builds or improves on the foundation of the last. Soon we’ll be able to code apps that integrate with Active Directory, global policies, internet security, system updates, Bing, Azure, etc.