Fresh Microsoft Office 365 integrations to consider this spring (includes iOS and Android)

So you have invested in office 365. Emails works great. Calendar works great. It’s amazing how Lync connects

So you have invested in office 365. Emails works great. Calendar works great. It’s amazing how Lync connects the global work force. Office 365 became an integral part of your everyday work activities.

Now it is time to take it to the next level – talking to your other applications.

This article …..

What are Office 365 APIs? How it help my organization?

Office 365 APIs are REST based services which facilitates access to various Office 365 services such as Exchange (Mails, Calendars, Contacts, User groups etc.), SharePoint Online (sites, files, folders etc.) and OneDrive for storage.

Since Office APIs are REST based, we are able to integrate this to any platform, and using any programming language. For additional cross-platform capability, it utilizes OData for transferring data and OAuth for authentications, authorizations.

Office APIs

So from an integration point of view, now developers can create solutions to access and interact with data which is in Office 365 Cloud – which can make available over various platforms or devices.

At the same time, it involves managing and creating some amount of code to maintain authentication tokens, URL constructions & authorization etc. while developing with Office 365 API based solutions. So MSFT have released Office 365 SDKs for various platforms like iOS, Android & Windows etc.  By using the Office 365 SDKs for Visual Studio, Eclipse and Android Studio, or Xcode, you can reduce the complexity of the code you need to write to access the Office 365 APIs.

Basically these SDKs provides a wrapper functionality over the raw REST base APIs to make the developer effort easier. Also it helps the developer to create functionalities seamlessly and faster. These SDKs are downloadable from Microsoft and it’s ready to install.

For developers using Visual Studio as IDE, the Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio include SDKs that provide .NET and JavaScript libraries that wrap the Office 365 REST services and provide an even easier way to connect to your Office 365 data. The SDKs are available for ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Web Forms, WPF, Win Forms, Universal App, Cordova and Xamarin project types in Visual Studio.

For Android developers, the Android SDK for Eclipse and Android Studio is now generally available as well.

For iOS apps, the iOS SDK for Xcode, currently in Preview, supports both Objective-C and Swift languages within Xcode 6

Functionalities exposed by Office 365 APIs

Here we discuss some of the key capabilities exposed over the Office 365 REST API.

Explaining about the Mailing REST API, There are capabilities to Compose Messages, Receive/Reply/Forward Messages, Move or Copy Message, Create Attachments, Delete Attachments, Get Attachments, Create mail folder, delete folder, Update folders.

For Contacts REST API – Create Contacts, Update Contacts, Delete Contacts, Get Contact & Contact folders.

For Calendar REST API – Get Events, Create Events, Update Events, Delete Events, Get Calendar, Create Calendar, Update Calendar and Delete Calendar.

For File REST API – Upload file, Download File, Create folder, Copy Folder, Delete Folder & Update folder.

Developers – MSFT has exposed an online API sandbox to make our hands dirty with Office 365 API, https://apisandbox.msdn.microsoft.com/ 

Present and Future stories of Office 365 Integration

Presently, Moodle – leading open source Learning Management System now have many Office 365 plug-ins to work more productive and making a better teaching or learning experience.

Within this integrated system, Students / Instructors who use Moodle can do a Single Sign-On (SSO) as their Office 365 login using Azure AD Federation. Office 365 calendars are used to manage course and other course related events. Means an event or course calendar entry done on the Moodle is copied to the Office 365 Calendar.

OneDrive plug-in is utilized as document storage. All the teaching or learning documents are maintained on OneDrive for Business. Documents which uploaded through Moodle is stored on OneDrive.

OneNote is utilized to a greater extend to Create assignments to students and students can work on their assignment, even work offline and submit for feedback to the teacher.

PowerPoint w/Office Mix is utilized for creating interactive teaching presentations which is then stored in Office 365.

The below image shows a snapshot of Moodle – Office 365 integration.

The detailed briefing of the Moodle –Office 365 integration is explained over MS Open Tech Blog and TechNet blog

In the second half of 2015, we can expect many Microsoft Office 365 Apps for SalesForce. A new Salesforce1 App for Outlook will work with Microsoft Outlook 2013, Exchange Server 2013 and Office 365 to let customers access and manage their Salesforce information right from Outlook. General availability is anticipated for the first half of 2015.

Power BI for Office 365 and Excel integrations with Salesforce. With these new integrations, customers will be able to bi-directionally load data to Salesforce and Excel to build reports, visualize information and discover new insights. Salesforce integration with Power Query for Excel is in preview now, with general availability anticipated for the first half of 2015. Power BI integration with Salesforce is anticipated for the first half of 2015. A Salesforce app for Excel is anticipated for the second half of 2015. 

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