Microsoft announces a ton of new Teams features

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Build is the time for lots of news related to Microsoft products, and Teams is no exception when it comes to getting new features announced. The communication service is getting a ton of new features for developers, starting with new features available to Teams apps.

Soon, these apps will be able to leverage things like shared stage integration, now in preview, which allows an app to access the mains stage in a Teams meeting, to display a whiteboard or another collaboration tool, for example. Together mode extensibility is also in the works, meaning apps can create custom scenes for together mode, beyond the ones offered out of the box. Some new APIs will also be available soon, such as meeting event APIs that let apps automate certain aspects of meeting workflows, like setting a start and end time. This is now in preview, and more capabilities are planned for later this year. Coming soon, new media APIs will also allow apps to access audio and video streams in real time, be it for transcription, translation, gathering insights, and so on.

Microsoft also announced new features for the Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code, which are now in preview. These make it easier to develop apps by requiring less code and provide more integrations with Azure out of the box, including Azure Functions integration and streamlined hosting to an IDE. There's also a new Developer portal for Microsoft Teams, formerly known as App Studio. This new portal comes with enhancements like support for any browser and device type, the ability to manage environment configurations without having to manage multiple app manifests, collaboration with other developers by giving them access to apps, and more. This developer portal will also give developers access to another new capability - selling third-party license subscriptions directly from the Microsoft Teams app store and the Teams Admin Center, which will be available in preview this summer.

Message extensions are now supported in Outlook on the web, meaning there's now a unified experience for building extensions that work with both Outlook and Teams, allowing for things such as surfacing tasks from a project management Teams app when composing an email. Developers can also now build an Adaptive Card and deploy it in both Outlook and Teams using the new Action.Execute model, removing the need to develop the adaptive card for each platform.

If you don't remember Microsoft's Fluid Framework, it's a system that allows certain kinds of experiences and workflows to be shared and accessed across different surfaces, so they can be edited from anywhere in real time. Fluid components are now available in Teams chats in private preview, so for example, you can send a table from an Office file to a Teams chat and edit it right within Teams while having those changes reflected in the Office file right away. The goal is to bring down barriers to collaboration, such as having to open different apps to work on a specific task.

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