It’s a No Code/Low Code World in Office 365

Time to clean…I have a love/hate relationship with Office 365. A majority of my work life for the past 3 years has been dedicated to Office 365 and while I see the excellent value it provides it’s taking away something I really enjoy, code.  While I was assisting a client with a OneDrive for Business rollout last week I had an epiphany. In the past 5 months I have probably written around 1,000 lines of code for work and it has mostly been JavaScript, TypeScript or PowerShell. I’ve not done a single line of C# code this year for work.  Some of the other folks in our group have so it has not been a total annihilation of managed code but it kind of has been for me and I do miss it. 

When I was doing primarily on-premises SharePoint development it was a point of pride for us to find an out of the box way to solve a business problem or at least the most “low code” solution. Now that power users have things like MS Flow, PowerApps, Power BI and MS Teams with various Connectors in Office 365 it’s almost too easy to find the no code/low code implementation.  Even if the requirements change throughout the project and code is required we don’t have to start from scratch anymore…those tools support the ability for a developer to easily pick up a project where a power user’s knowledge falls off.  All of this is great for flexibility, quicker development and release cycles and business user empowerment but where does it leave those of us who really want to code?

I had to think about this a bit but the answer in my opinion is that we get to do the really “cool stuff” now instead of the monotonous development efforts.  Most of our custom development in Office 365 has been done using Azure services such as the App Service, Bot Service, Machine Learning, creating custom API’s to connect to line of business data etc. which has been an easy transition given the rate of change within Office 365 and Azure.  Oddly enough my feelings regarding the no code/low code world in Office 365 are best represented by a line in Shawshank Redemption by Red about Andy:

“I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.”

Red eventually reconnected with Andy in Zihuatenejo, maybe I’ll get to reconnect with C# as well😊.

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