Microsoft Teams is set to receive a raft of upgrades designed to expand the potential of the third-party apps that sit atop the collaboration platform.

As revealed at Microsoft Build 2022, Teams users will soon benefit from a new facility called Live Share, which allows meeting attendees to “interact in new ways with shared apps”.

Microsoft claims the new breed of apps will “take real-time collaboration to the next level”, by letting users annotate, edit and manipulate content during video meetings in a way that was not previously possible.

Microsoft Teams apps

To facilitate this new type of application, Microsoft is rolling out an extension to the Teams SDK in preview, which will help software vendors and in-house developers build Live Share facilities into their apps.

Apparently, a number of third-parties are already developing Teams apps with Live Share functionality built-in, spanning use cases such as video editing, blue-printing and online learning.

In addition to the new variety of Teams apps, Microsoft also announced further steps to make it easier for developers to build for the collaboration service, more broadly.

For example, the company is preparing to roll out a new toolkit for Visual Studio Code in preview, which should “enable developers to create, build, debug and publish apps for Teams across web and mobile devices in minutes”. It will also make it easier to port existing web applications to the Teams platform.

Also in preview, Microsoft is introducing a new low-code drag-and-drop system that will make it trivial for developers to embed Microsoft 365 collaboration features (such as chat, meetings and file-sharing) into their Power Apps.

Finally, Microsoft is expanding upon work started earlier this year with new behind-the-scenes changes that should improve the discoverability of apps in the Teams App Store.

“With enhanced contextual discovery capabilities, it’s even easier for developers to get their apps in front of the right users in the right context,” explained Microsoft.

“Additionally, the Teams App Store now has improved editorial content and a ‘featured apps’ section, making it easier for users to find apps that are relevant to their productivity and collaboration needs.”

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