Using Lerna to manage SPFx projects with library components

Hydra is attacking porcupine? Well, actually not. Because Hydra is Lerna.js and porcupine is a SharePoint Framework solution with library components. Most likely you've heard about SharePoint Framework and library component, but not about Lerna. Lerna is

A tool for managing JavaScript projects with multiple packages.

Sounds simple, but probably still not very clear. First of all, it works only with JavaScript (and of course, TypeScript, for simplicity I use JavaScript term) projects. Some companies have JavaScript projects with lots if modules developed internally or publicly (it doesn't matter) in separate git repositories. These modules usually reference each other in the corresponding package.json files. Making changes across different modules is an extremely difficult and messy task. To solve these and other issues, some companies organize their projects in multi-packaged repositories (i.e. one git repository with many JavaScript packages):

Lerna is a tool that optimizes the workflow around managing multi-package repositories with git and npm.

Now it becomes a little bit clear what is Lerna. However, how does it correlate with SharePoint Framework and library components?

Imagine you have a solution with SharePoint Framework web parts and you want to add a new library component to share code across web parts. A new library component always creates a new JavaScript package (package.json). In the end, you will have two JavaScript packages in your repository - one for SharePoint Framework web parts and another one for the library component. So you have a multi-package repository and it's a good place to add Lerna to reduce the mess!

Actually, you're not limited in using Lerna with library components only. If you have a few separate SharePoint Framework solutions in one git repository, you can add Lerna to simplify package management. More...

SharePoint Framework development tips: create shortcut(s) for your common SharePoint Framework generator commands

This is a small tip for anybody who hates typing yo @microsoft/sharepoint because it's too long and error-prone (or you're lazy like me :)). Check out below animation: 

What if we can simply type sp in order to scaffold the project? Well, we are in 2019 and of course, it's possible :) 

NOTE: Solution windows users only. Sorry MacOs :(. I'm pretty sure there is an alternative for Mac as well, but I'm not a Mac user.

More...

SharePoint Framework development tips: even more easily debug production version of your SharePoint Framework solution

Almost a year ago Waldek Mastykarz posted a great article on how to debug your SharePoint Framework solution in production, where all the code is minified and source maps are not available. While it works, there is a manual step of uploading source maps in google chrome's dev tools, which isn't very convenient. I extended Waldek's solution with fully automated implementation without any complexities. 

The problem

When you package your SharePoint Framework solution, spfx build pipeline minimizes and optimizes all your TypeScript code. It's not a problem for development, because in "serve" mode spfx build pipeline generates source maps for you. Source maps allow you to open original TypeScript source files in browser developer tools with full debugging experience. 

This is something not possible for "ship" or "production" mode of SharePoint Framework solution. When you run bundle and package-solution with "--ship" flag, spfx pipeline doesn't generate any source maps for you. Instead, you have minified and performance optimized javascript code without any notion of source maps. 

Here is your approximate production code revealed in Chrome dev tools (prettified): More...

A new beast in SharePoint Framework development: library component

SharePoint Framework 1.8 is out and gives us a lot of new things. Check out SPFx 1.8 release notes to learn more. Among different generally available features, we also received some items in "beta" mode. One of them is a library component type.

Library component currently is in preview and most likely will be generally available in SharePoint Framework 1.9

Let's find out what is that library component, when and how to use it. This post is not a step-by-step tutorial (you can find tutorials in the links section of the post in the very bottom), but rather an explanation of why and when we should use library components, why they were added to SharePoint Framework. The original entry in SharePoint User Voice received a lot of votes, thus this feature is long awaited. More...

SharePoint Framework development tips: prettify your imports

The source code with samples from this post is here at GitHub.

Have you ever found yourself writing something like this in your SharePoint Framework web parts: 

import { Customer } from '../../../../../../models/Customer';
import { Utils } from '../../../../../../common/Utils';
import { Api } from '../../../../../../services/Api';

import User from '../../../user/User';
import GreenButton from '../../../ui/green-button/GreenButton';
import Grid from '../../../../../../shared/components/grid/Grid';

Above code has a few issues: 

  • Readability of such code is not at the best level. A lot of parent relative paths like "../../../" don't look good
  • It looks ridiculous to import "Grid" from "...components/grid/Grid". It's pretty obvious that we want to import Grid from components/grid. No need of one extra word "Grid". The same also applies to other imports
  • When you add a new import or refactor your code by moving into different folders, you will have troubles figuring out how many "../../" you need :)

What if I tell you that with some webpack and typescript magic we can make it look like this: 

import { Customer } from '@src/models';
import { Utils } from '@src/common';
import { Api } from '@src/services';

import User from '@hello-world-components/user';
import GreenButton from '@hello-world-components/ui/green-button';
import Grid from '@components/grid';

This code is a lot cleaner and doesn't have all mentioned issues. 

Let's figure out how to do it! More...

SharePoint Framework development: some gotchas and how to solve them

This post is mostly for Googlers, who experience unexpected issues with SharePoint Framework (like I did). 

Whether you like it or not, sometimes shit happens.

Issue

Usually, I don't use spaces in paths to my projects, however, one day for some reason I decided it was a great idea (probably I was trying to be more creative). And I paid for it.

If you have created a SharePoint Framework project, and the path to that project contains spaces, you are in trouble. gulp serve will work, gulp bundle gulp package-solution will work. However as soon as you upload your app to App Catalog, you will see an app package error: 

Invalid SharePoint App package. Error: Part URI is not valid per rules defined in the Open Packaging Conventions specification. More...

SPFx webpart with MS Graph and PnPjs: step by step guide

So you want to build an SPFx webpart which uses MS Graph API through PnPjs. Here is step by step guide on how to do that.

A few months ago I wrote a similar post, however, things were changed, some things were simplified a lot, that’s why this is a revisited guide. Also, I’ve addressed some additional steps here. The source code is available on the official SharePoint/sp-dev-fx-webparts GitHub repository.

Prerequisites

  • SPFx >= 1.6
  • PnPjs >= 1.2.4

1. Scaffold SPFx webpart solution with React

This step is pretty self-explanatory, simply run yo @microsoft/sharepoint, select React, give your webpart a name, do not change other defaults asked by yeoman.

More...

You might experience errors when first trying new SPFx 1.6 features

SPFx 1.6 was released recently with new features which support secure connection to Azure AD protected APIs. During upgrade some things in your tenant and Azure AD were changed. For some users migration didn’t go smoothly and they saw strange errors in different places. I’m in the group of users who experienced errors and had to fight with them. Fortunately really smart guys from Microsoft and community resolved everything. There are a few issues on GitHub related to SPFx 1.6 errors. It might be difficult to go through all comments and find an answer on your concrete problem. I see that more and more people struggle with the same types of errors, I sum up potential errors and their resolutions in a separate post.

Basically there are two types of errors you might see when trying SPFx 1.6 features. They are described at GitHub SPFx The user or administrator has not consented to use the application with ID and SPFx suddenly stopped working; experimental feature error. More...

Calling MS Graph API from classic SharePoint pages

- Classic pages you said?

- Yes! You read it right. MS Graph API from classic SharePoint page. However please read it first:

That’s not an official or recommended way. That’s just a proof of concept, which uses some tenant features introduced with SPFx 1.6. That’s something I decided to try out when SPFx 1.6 was out. Use it on your own risk.

When to use it? On classic pages if you don’t have an option to execute SPFx code.

So what if you want to call some MS Graph APIs from your classic SharePoint page? No problem then.

Before doing actual coding, we should check that we meet all prerequisites:

  • You have SPFx 1.6 features, which work without issues in your tenant. You can test it by creating a simple SPFx web part, which uses MS Graph. Upload it to the app catalog, approve the request to MS Graph and see it actually returns MS Graph data

If above works, you have everything needed for our experiments. More...