Thursday 13 January 2022

Working with Apps for Microsoft Teams meetings

Microsoft Teams meetings extensions or "Apps for Teams meetings" are the newest entry in the Microsoft Teams extensibility story. They can be used to build custom experiences right into the meeting experience. Meeting participants are able to interact with the custom experiences either before, during or after the meeting. To know more about apps for Teams meetings, a great place to start is the Microsoft docs:

Pre-meeting and Post-meeting experiences

The pre and post meeting experiences are not too different than what we are used to when building Tabs for Teams. The basic structure remains the same with the only different thing being that the Teams SDK provides the meeting specific APIs when invoked from a meeting app. These APIs can be used to get meeting details like participants and meeting context in our app. More information on the APIs here:

In-meeting experiences

When it comes to the In-meeting experiences, there are two main areas: The side panel and the in meeting dialog box (also known as content bubble). The side panel is used to show custom experiences while the meeting is in progress

And the in-meeting dialog box (or content bubble) is used to show content, prompt or collect feedback from the users during the meeting:

I should mention here that the In-meeting experiences only work in the Teams desktop and mobile clients as of now. They don't work in the Teams web browser interface at the time of this writing. To me this is the biggest challenge for using them in production.

Now that's enough introduction of the concepts, let's take a look at how to actually build these experiences and what are the moving pieces when building them. The Microsoft docs do provide some great step by step tutorials for each of the use cases. 

In this post we will look at the In-meeting dialog box. We will take a look at the Microsoft's code sample and walk through it. You can find the code sample here:

1) Configure an Azure Bot and enable Teams Channel

Create a bot in Azure and configure the endpoint which should receive the Teams events:

Next, add the Teams channel so that the bot is able to talk to Microsoft Teams:

2) Update the Teams manifest

For the In-meeting dialog box, we don't have to make any special changes in the manifest. We just need to make sure that since the dialog box will be shown via the bot, our Teams app manifest should have the bot configured as part of it. 

3) Create an Azure AD app registration for the app

When we created the Azure Bot, a new Azure AD app registration was created behind the scenes as well. Grab the client id and client secret from this app as we would need it later to add to our bot config

4) Start the ngrok tunnel and update the code sample:

To debug locally, you will need to setup an ngrok tunnel to your local machine. More details here:

And in the code sample, update the bot client id and client secret along with the ngrok tunnel url:

5) In meeting dialog code:

The way to bring up an in-meeting dialog is to use the regular Bot Framework turnContext.SendActivityAsync(activity) code but with updated Teams channel data:

You will notice that in the In-meeting dialog url, there is a reference to {_config["BaseUrl"]}/ContentBubble 

This means that the contents of the in-meeting dialog have to be hosted in our app. This is good news as that means we have complete control over what is displayed in the dialog. In this code sample, the contents are hosted in an MVC view:

And once everything fits together, we can see the sample code running to show an In-meeting dialog launched in the context of a meeting:

Hope this helps, and thanks for reading!