Microsoft 365 application development at Build: Lists and Fluid Framework


Microsoft 365 is at the heart of the company’s enterprise strategy. Mixing the familiar Office and SharePoint ecosystem with Active Directory, Microsoft’s system management tools, and its security offerings, the company is building out Microsoft’s application and developer platform, using the Microsoft Graph as a foundation for collaborative applications.

Build 2020 puts the Microsoft Graph at the center of Microsoft’s enterprise application development strategy, with new tools and apps that are designed to help build collaborative applications. It’s a model that reminds me of the early days of Web 2.0, when it was possible to connect multiple endpoints into new Web apps combined with early ambitious collaboration tools like Dave Winer’s pioneering outlining and blogging platform Frontier. Today, we’re wrapping collaborative graph-based applications in new experiences, either as code or as APIs you can use to build your own code.

Introducing Lists

One key element of this strategy is a new . Lists are a primary data type in the Microsoft Graph, and the Lists app is an example of how you can build a list management tool around them. Existing templates make it easy to quickly build and share lists with colleagues, much like working with tasks in Outlook or To Do.

A hero application such as Lists is only part of the story. Perhaps more important is the application model that Lists provides, and the APIs and tools that can be used to build on top of it. Part of that is the ability to quickly embed lists in both Power Apps and Power Automate, making it easy to quickly use them as part of custom low-code experiences that can be assembled by anyone with an Excel Macro skill level.