Friday 28 April 2017

Error handling in SPFx when using TypeScript Async/Await

This is a quick follow up post to my previous post Using TypeScript async/await to simplify your SharePoint Framework code.

Since publishing my previous post, some folks have asked how would the error handling work when using async/await in SharePoint Framework. So decided to make this short how-to post.

At first glance, it is really straightforward, you essentially have to wrap your code in a try..catch block and the typescript compiler does the rest.

But there is something interesting here. Under the hood, SharePoint Framework uses the fetch API to make http requests. MDN has some great info on the fetch API if you haven't seen it already:

What would be surprising for some (including me) is that the fetch API rejects the promise only when network errors occur. A "404 Not found" is considered as valid response and the Promise is resolved.

E.g. If you make a get request to a SharePoint list which does not exist, the fetch API (and the SharePoint Framework) will actually resolve your Promise.

A fetch() promise will reject with a TypeError when a network error is encountered, although this usually means permission issues or similar — a 404 does not constitute a network error, for example. An accurate check for a successful fetch() would include checking that the promise resolved, then checking that the Response.ok property has a value of true.

There has also been some discusson on this on the SharePoint Framewok GitHub repo:

This is why, in addition to a try..catch block, you have to also check the Response.ok property of the returned Response. Here is the basic code you need to handle errors when using async/await:

What you can also do is, since the fetch API returns promises, you can use chaining to detect if the Response.ok property is false. Have a look at this post: Handling Failed HTTP Responses With fetch()

Update 6th May 2017: Here is a slightly more complex example where I have built a service with a custom get method which also handles errors for you:

And here is how to consume the service from your SPFx webpart:

Here is the GitHub repository for the service if you are interested:

Hope you find this useful!

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Using TypeScript async/await to simplify your SPFx code

I recently learned about the Async/Await functionality in TypeScript and I was really surprised how easily you can simplify your code with it. Using Async/Await, you can get rid of spaghetti code as well as long chains of Promises and callbacks in your asynchronous functions.

The Async/Await functionality has been around since TypeScript 1.7 but back then it was only available for the ES6/ES2016 runtime. Since TypeScript 2.1, async/await works for ES5 and ES3 runtimes as well, which is very good news. I am kicking myself that I did not start using it sooner.

As with anything new I learn, I have tried to apply it to SharePoint as well to see how I can improve my development experience. Turns out using async/await can really make your SharePoint Framework code simpler and more readable. Lets have a look at some examples and compare between using Promises and Async/Await in your code.

Also, an important thing to note is that although I am making comparisons between using Promises and using async/await, ultimately the aync/await code is downleveled to using Promises by the typescript compiler. If the runtime does not have a native Promise object, we should make sure we have the right polyfills available.

The comparison here is more around code readability and conciseness.

All the code I am using is running inside a SharePoint Framework webpart. So, when you see the 'this' keyword in the code, it refers to my SPFx webpart which inherits from the BaseClientSideWebPart class. Since I am calling the code from inside my webpart, I have access to 'this'.

Here is my import statements for the code:

Simple example using Promises and 'then' callbacks:

Same code using async/await:

Here is a slightly more complex example with code which accepts an array of SharePoint login names and uses the batching framework to get the user profile properties of each user in the array.

You will need the IPerson interface for this:

Complex example using Promises and 'then' callbacks:

Same code using async/await:

As you can see, there is significantly less callbacks when using async/await and the code is also a lot more readable.

Hope you found this post useful. Thanks for reading!

Friday 21 April 2017

Create/Update SharePoint list items with REST without the '__metadata' property

When updating list items in SharePoint with the REST API, we need to know the ListItemEntityTypeFullName of the list item we are planning to update. There are some good examples on MSDN regarding this

The ListItemEntityTypeFullName property (SP.Data.ProjectPolicyItemListItem in the previous example) is especially important if you want to create and update list items. This value must be passed as the type property in the metadata that you pass in the body of the HTTP request whenever you create and update list items.

For example, when you want to update list items in a list called "MyCustomList" you need to know the ListItemEntityTypeFullName of the list items before hand. In this case, it will be SP.Data.MyCustomListListItem. Most examples around the internet do this by querying the list first and then getting the ListItemEntityTypeFullName property from it and using that in the call to update the list items.

If you do not specify the ListItemEntityTypeFullName, you get this error
An entry without a type name was found, but no expected type was specified. To allow entries without type information, the expected type must also be specified when the model is specified

The good news is that you only need to use the entity type full name when you are using "application/json;odata=verbose" as your Accept and Content-Type headers.

If you are using "application/json;odata=nometadata" in your Accept and Content-Type headers, then you do not need the ListItemEntityTypeFullName as well.

Here is are a couple of quick gists I have put together to show how we can create and update list items without specifying the ListItemEntityTypeFullName. I should mention I have tested these only in SharePoint Online at the time of this writing:

1) Create list item without specifying ListItemEntityTypeFullName

2) Update list item without specifying ListItemEntityTypeFullName

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Send emails to authenticated external users using CSOM

Here is some quick code I put together to send emails in SharePoint Online to external users who have accepted sharing invitations and signed in as authenticated users.

Before having look at the code, I should mention my site collection has external sharing turned on and the "Allow external users who accept sharing invitations and sign in as authenticated users" option selected.

And here is the code:

Thanks for reading!