Monday, 4 March 2019

Create Azure DevOps pipelines for a Microsoft Teams app built with SPFx

In this post, let's walk-through the configuration needed to create Azure DevOps build and release pipelines for a Microsoft Teams solution. 

The solution is built using the SharePoint Framework and will be surfaced in Microsoft Teams as a Tab. 

As the code for the SPFx solution is being hosted in a GitHub repository, I will only focus on the Azure Pipelines configuration. For information on how to work with Azure Repos, see the official Microsoft docs:

These are the high level steps we are going to follow:

Build pipeline:

1) Create production package of the SPFx solution (.sppkg)
2) Create a Teams manifest package (.zip) 
3) Publish the SPFx and Teams packages as Artefacts to be consumed from the Release pipeline

Release pipeline:

1) Deploy the SPFx package to the SharePoint Tenant App Catalog (using the Office 365 CLI)
2) Deploy the Teams manifest package to the Microsoft Teams App Catalog (using the Office 365 CLI)

So without further ado, here are the screenshots and scripts to achieve this:

(Click on the images to zoom)

Build pipeline:

Use Node 8.12.0:

npm install:

gulp bundle --ship:

gulp package-solution --ship:

The .sppkg file needs to be copied to staging directory in order to be published to the release pipeline:

Create a .zip file for the teams app catalog and copy it to the staging directory as well:

Publish the .sppkg and .zip files so that they can be consumed from the Release pipeline:

Release pipeline: 

Now to create a new Release Pipeline which will deploy the packages to the respective app catalogs in the tenants.

The Artefacts used will be the .sppkg file and the .zip file for Teams which was published in the previous step:

Overview of tasks in the Release pipeline:

Before moving on to the tasks, we also need to configure some variables to hold the information for the tenants, credentials etc.

The username and password should be for an account with global admin permissions. This is because the Microsoft Graph API (used by the Office 365 CLI) needs this permission to deploy apps to the Microsoft Teams App catalog:

The TeamsManifestId will be used to check if the app already exists in the Teams App catalog. This can be fetched from the manifest.json file in the teams folder of the SPFx solution:

If you are feeling adventurous, you could look at cracking open the .zip file from the Release pipeline and then grabbing the id on-the-fly instead of having to specify it in a variable.

Next, we will need to use Node (same task as the build pipeline) and install the Office 365 CLI on the Release agent using:

npm install -g office365-cli

Next, we need to deploy the SPFx package to the SharePoint Tenant App Catalog:

Here is the script as a gist:

And lastly, we need to publish the Teams manifest to the Microsoft Teams App Catalog. We will do this using the Office 365 CLI as well. Thanks to Elio and Waldek to get this functionality in the Office 365 CLI at lightning speed!

Here is the script as a gist:

And that's it! You now have build and release pipelines configured to deploy SPFx solutions and Teams apps. The webpart will now be available in SharePoint and the tab will be available in Teams:

 Hope you found this walk-through useful!

Monday, 11 February 2019

Debugging a Microsoft Teams Tab built with SharePoint Framework

With SPFx 1.7, the ability to build Microsoft Teams tabs with SharePoint Framework was released in preview. It's not just a SharePoint page hosted in a teams tab, it's aware of the context information around the current user, team, channel, tab etc. and is also able to interact with the team.

Here is the Microsoft docs article about it, have a read if you haven't already:

The article walks us through the process of building and publishing a production package of an SPFx solution so that it can be used as a SPFx webpart as well as a tab in Microsoft Teams.

In this post, we will go through the process of actually debugging the solution when it is being built. During development, when we make changes to the TypeScript code, we don't want to publish a production package to the App Catalog every time to test our changes.

The ideal development flow for me is to upload the SPFx package once to the App Catalog on the dev tenant, run gulp serve and when changes are made to the code, they should immediately be available to test as a Microsoft Teams tab.

To achieve this, first you will need to create an SPFx 1.7 solution as described in the docs, then update the webpart code to make sure that the microsoftTeams.Context is available to consume.

(Note: Make sure to use the SPFx v1.7.0 and not SPFx v1.7.1 which is the latest version at the time of writing this article. There is a bug in the latest version which does not create the teams folder automatically through the generator. More details here)

Now here is where the process deviates. Instead of creating the production package with the --ship flag, we will create a development package with:

gulp bundle

and then

gulp package-solution

After which you should see the console screen similar to this:

Getting the warning which says that the scripts (Client Site Assets) will not be packaged with the solution is important as we want them to be referenced from the local dev machine.

Next, we will upload and deploy the package to the tenant app catalog as usual:

Notice that the scripts will be loaded from localhost.

Next we need to make the scripts available from localhost. For that, we will run:

gulp serve

Now we need to upload the teams package which will make the SPFx webpart available in teams as a Tab.

This process is exactly similar to how it's done in the Microsoft docs article:

We make sure that side loading of apps is enabled on Teams, then go to any Team > Ellipsis > Manage Team >  Apps > Upload a custom app > Upload the Zip file.

Then go to a channel in the Team > The plus button (+) > Add a tab > Select your app > Save

That's it! You Teams tab is now loading the scripts from localhost:

Make sure gulp serve is still running and then you can test by changing something in the code and press the reload tab button. The tab should be updated with the new code.

You can also test in the Teams Desktop client. Just make sure that the "Developer Preview" option is enabled:

Thanks to petkir for this tip!

After this, your SPFx tab should load in on the Teams Desktop client as well:

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Working with Application Permissions (App-Only Auth) in SharePoint Online and the Microsoft Graph

When working with SharePoint Online or the Microsoft Graph, there are many scenarios in which we need to read or write data without a user context. It might be a scheduled process, or it might be an operation that requires elevated permissions. In such scenarios, it is quite common for the solution to use "Application permissions" (a.k.a App-Only Authentication). This lets the solution have its own identity which can be used to grant the required permissions.

When working with Application permissions in Office 365, there are a lot of moving pieces to deal with like Client Ids, Client Secrets, Azure AD App Registrations, Certificates, Add-In Registrations, AppRegNew.aspx, AppInv.aspx etc.

What I want to do in this post is to explore different options for configuring and granting application permissions. There are a few combinations possible with the different moving pieces. My aim in this post is to explore them and determine which combination might be suitable for certain scenarios. We will also see some sample code which demonstrates how to authenticate with SPO and the Microsoft Graph using the different authentication options.

Here is a table I have put together which summarises the different options for working with applications permissions in SPO and the Microsoft Graph API. We will go through each on them in detail.

1) Interact with data from SharePoint Online with an Azure AD App Registration

If your solution uses an Azure AD App Registration created from the Azure AD portal and you want to read or write data to SharePoint Online:

You will need to use a Client Id and Certificate. Have a look at this link for details on how to create an AAD App Registration as well as the certificate:

If you try to use a Client Id and Client Secret created through AAD portal you will get the following error:

Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ServerUnauthorizedAccessException: 'Access denied. You do not have permission to perform this action or access this resource.'

You will also get the "Access Denied" error if you try to write to the User Profile service. Reading from the User Profile service will work. If your solution needs write User Profile service access, your only option would be to use an Add-In registration (see the next section). Writing to the SPO Taxonomy Service will not work either through AAD App Registration or Add-In Registration. Read operations will work. See notes at the end of this post.

Here is some sample code to demo how to use a Client Id and Certificate with the AAD App Registration. You will need the SharePointPnPCoreOnline NuGet package:

2) Interact with data from SharePoint Online with a SharePoint Add-In Registration:

If your solution uses a SharePoint Add-In Registration (created through the /_layouts/15/AppRegNew.aspx page) and you want to read/write data to SharePoint Online:

You will need a Client Id and Client Secret created through the /_layouts/15/AppRegNew.aspx page and permissions granted from the /_layouts/15/AppInv.aspx page

See this link for details on how to create as well as assign permissions to the Add-In Registration:

Here is a sample of how to use the Add-In registration to interact with data from SharePoint. You will need the SharePointPnPCoreOnline NuGet package.

3) Interact with data from the Microsoft Graph with an Azure AD App Registration

If your solution needs to interact with the Microsoft Graph, the only option is to have an Azure AD App Registration. However, within the Azure AD App Registration you can either use a Client Id, Client Secret pair or you can use the Client Id, Certificate pair as well.

1) Using a Client Id and Certificate:

The process to create the AAD App Registration and Certificate is exactly the same as described above in section 1. Only difference would be that instead of selecting SharePoint Online permissions, the App Registration will have to be granted the relevant permission to the Microsoft Graph.

Once that is done, here is the sample code to use the Client Id and Certificate to get data from the Microsoft Graph:

2) Using a Client Id and Client Secret:

The only change in this approach is using a Client Secret (Password) instead of a certificate. See this link to see how to generate a client secret for the AAD App Registration:

Once you have the Client Id and Client Secret, you can use the sample code to get data from the Microsoft Graph:

In conclusion: 

Considering all factors, I would personally go with one of these two options:

If the solution is strictly going to deal with SharePoint Online data and not any other part of Office 365, you might want to consider the SharePoint Add-In Registration approach with a Client Id and Client Secret. That way you don't have to mess around with certificates. But remember that in the future if the same solution is going to read/write data from the Microsoft Graph, you might have to create another App Registration in Azure AD.

Another option would be to use an Azure AD App Registration with a Client Id and a Certificate. This allows us to interact with most of Office 365 data (including SharePoint Online and the Microsoft Graph) without maintaining separate applications. The caveats to this approach being the added complication of generating and managing certificates and also the fact that writing data to SharePoint Online Taxonomy and User Profile will not work (Reading data will be possible)


1) Writing to the SPO Taxonomy Service with Application Permissions does not work from either AAD Portal or Add-In Registration. Read operations work. See more details here:

2) For the purpose of this post, I have only considered Azure AD v1.0 endpoint as we are only concerned with organisational accounts and not personal accounts.

3) Technically, Add-In registrations created from the AppRegNew.aspx page are also registered in Azure AD. They are not visible through the AAD portal but you can list them via PowerShell.

4) It is also possible to create an App Registration in Azure AD and then use the AppInv.aspx page in SharePoint Online to assign it SharePoint specific permissions. You can also use this approach to assign a client secret which never expires to the Add-In registration. For more details on this, you can see this post by the very talented Sergei Sergeev

It would be great if we can get some confirmation from Microsoft about this approach being supported/recommended. But even then, we will have to manage the SharePoint permissions in a different location than the Microsoft Graph permissions.

Hope you've found the post helpful!