SharePoint Framework, webpack 4 and tree shaking

In August 2019 SharePoint Framework 1.9.x was released. Among different changes also support for Webpack 4 was introduced. What does it mean for us? It means slightly improved build speed, support for a wide range of plugins and better tree-shaking. 

What is webpack tree-shaking exactly? In simple words, webpack is smart enough to automatically remove "dead modules" (in other words unused code/modules) from your resulting bundle. It reduces the size of the resulting bundle, thus improves load performance. More...

Styling SharePoint Framework components using CSS in JS approach

Intro

A very common way of styling your SharePoint Framework React components is through the css (to be precise sass, which eventually compiles to css). Actually, SharePoint Framework goes one step further and suggests something called css-modules. As you know, for a default web part we have a file called <Component Name>.module.scss. We write styles in that file and SharePoint Framework build pipeline generates corresponding TypeScript interface for us to use inside React component as 

className={styles.myButton}

SharePoint Framework ensures that a class name will be unique, that way we isolate our styles from the "outside world" and have them scoped to this specific component:

However, it's not the only way of styling your components using isolated scopes. Nowadays the approach when you write your css styles in code (in .js or .ts files and not in .css or .scss) becomes more and more popular and has a number of benefits: More...

SPFx overclockers or how to significantly speed up the "gulp serve" command

A few months ago I wrote an article about SharePoint Framework build performance - SPFx overclockers or how to significantly improve your SharePoint Framework build performance. I've tried to reduce the amount of time the "gulp serve" command uses to re-build your code and to finally refresh a browser. I used different optimization technics for that purpose. The idea was to tweak the default SPFx build pipeline. However, those post only partially solves the problem. 

In this post, I will solve the problem from another way around (spoiler: I managed to make "serve" 10-15 times faster). 

The idea

How SharePoint Framework's "gulp serve" works? It gets your sources and outputs javascript bundles. But "gulp serve" becomes slow when your solution grows. How to fix that issue? Well, since it's slow, then don't use it! 

So this is the idea - don't use "gulp serve", use completely custom webpack based build to transform your sources into exactly the same javascript bundles which are produced by "gulp serve". 

What is the input for "gulp serve"? - TypeScript sources, styles. What is the output? - Javascript files. Can we get sources and produce exactly the same javascript? -Yes.

How it works

Some nerdy content goes below. If you don't want to read about internal implementation, go directly to "How can I use it?"

To make it work, we need custom webpack config and webpack dev server to serve webpack output. More...

SharePoint Framework and React hooks. Should I care?

SharePoint Framework 1.9 introduced support for React 16.8+. While only a minor part of the version was changed (16.7 -> 16.8), it means a lot. It means that you can use the full power of React hooks. But should you? Obviously, the answer is yes, because React hooks introduce a lot of useful features, including:

  • reuse stateful logic across your many React components, which isn't possible with class-based components
  • get rid of high-order components, you can move some logic out of your React components into custom hooks. All that makes your code cleaner
  • all your React components now are in the same style (you don't mix class-based components with functional). Instead, you use only functional components, because they support state (with help of hook of course)

There are even more reasons going to hooks, instead of class-based components. Check out official documentation from React:

Should I use Hooks, classes, or a mix of both?

....we’d encourage you to start trying Hooks in new components you write. ....In the longer term, we expect Hooks to be the primary way people write React components.

Hooks are available starting from February 2019. A lot of libraries adopted their code to hooks. You are on the safe side if you're planning to use hooks in your code today. More...

SharePoint Framework tips & tricks: avoid css styles leaking from third party libraries

Sometimes when working on SharePoint Framework projects you have a need to use third-party libraries with their own css styles. You can include css styles using different technics - via import statement right in your code or using dynamic loading with SPComponentLoader. However, some css libraries have very common selectors, which affects Html in the "outside world".

For example, a library might include a css style for an element with class "some-class". This particular class might also be in SharePoint out-of-the-box styles. As a result, it breaks the UI:

It's called css leakage. More...

Exploring The Microsoft Graph Toolkit

At the end of September 2019, Microsoft released The Graph Toolkit library.

a collection of reusable, framework-agnostic web UI components that work automatically with Microsoft Graph

It was in preview for a while, now it's in GA, thus it's a good time to start exploring what is available in this library.  

First of all, that's a set of components, which abstract a lot of things about MS Graph, authentication, UI away from a developer. It provides a very seamless interface for building UI components. UI elements are built with web components technology - which means that they are framework agnostic. You can use it with any modern JavaScript framework.

Let's explore how to use this library with a React-based single page application and with SharePoint Framework. More...

SPFx overclockers or how to significantly improve your SharePoint Framework build performance

Please also check out this post - SPFx overclockers or how to significantly speed up the "gulp serve" command which uses different approach in performance tweaking and gives you extremely fast "serve" speed

Today's post will be about SharePoint Framework build performance. Especially about "serve" command, because it's the most frequently used command among developers. gulp serve is a kind of "watch" mode for your SharePoint Framework solution. As soon as you update a file, it will spin up the build process and will refresh your browser finally, so that you can see changes.

However, from here and there, I hear complaints about the poor performance of gulp serve command, especially if you have more than 10 web parts in a solution, or if your webparts are quite complicated (with lots of code and \ or additional heavy dependencies). Checkout Gulp webpack slow build and Long build times for SPFx projects with many components GitHub issues as well. I'm also not satisfied with the build performance in case of medium and of course big SharePoint Framework solutions. In a few recent weeks, I spent some time trying to go deeper and understanding all possible ways on how to improve performance for gulp serve command.

Read further and you will find a list of tricks, which reduce the amount of time to build a common SharePoint Framework solution. By build I mean serve or bundle (without --ship parameter) command, because they are very identical. The only difference is that serve is never-ending and has an additional step which refreshes your browser. In all other cases, they are the same, running tslint, typescript, sass, webpack, copy assets, etc. tasks. I will start with the easiest tricks, going to more complicated technics. I don't use any heavy hacks here. 

At the end of the post, you will find a detailed report on how any particular trick reduces build time on the example of SharePoint Starter Kit:

This is a solution designed for SharePoint Online which provides numerous web parts, extensions, and other components which you can use as an example and inspiration for your own customizations.

It contains 20+ webparts and quite slow when you use gulp serve command. Which makes it a good candidate for improvements. More...

Build SharePoint Framework solutions for on-premises SharePoint with ANY version of React, TypeScript or Office UI Fabric React

Any version?

-Yes, any.

Including the latest versions of React, TypeScript, etc. ?

-Yes.

The problem

SharePoint Framework is supported not only by SharePoint Online but by on-premises SharePoint as well (2019 and 2016 with Feature Pack). SharePoint Framework Yeoman generator has different options for different SharePoint versions and it generates different project templates depending on the environment selection.

On-premises SharePoint is always behind SharePoint Online in terms of features and codebase. And the same issue applies to SharePoint Framework. If you generate a "Hello world" SharePoint Framework web part for SharePoint 2019, you will see that it uses React 15.6, TypeScript 2.4 and Office UI Fabric React (OUIFR) 5.21. The most recent versions (I'm updating this post on the 23rd of April 2020) are React 16.13.1, TypeScript 3.8.3 and OUIFR (now called Fluent UI React) 7.107.3.

Now you see the issue - you always have to work with an older version of packages. You miss a lot of potential features, bug fixes, and other things. Additionally, from a developer perspective, it's not exciting to work with outdated technologies or frameworks. The situation will be even worse in 2020 when we see React 17, TypeScript 4 and OUIFR 8. Will Microsoft update yeoman generator for on-premises to add support to the most recent version of packages? I don't think so. On-premises are not in the priority list today. 

For those who want to jump and explore the code right away - the full source code for this post is here at GitHub. More...

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...