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Introducing Microsoft Graph: formerly Office 365 Unified API

As more and more data moves to the cloud and adoption of cloud SaaS products continues to increase, we need more sophisticated ways to extract, transform, and interact with that data. This spring at the //build conference, Microsoft previewed the “Office 365 Unified API”. That product is now in full production and has been renamed the Microsoft Graph.
If you’ve been around the community, you may be doing a double take. Wait, don’t we already have the Office Graph? Yes, and that’s a different product; the Office Graph is the machine learning system that powers Office Delve. This is a completely different product, although they appear to be a connected. Don’t get me started on Microsoft and their naming conventions, as I’m sure this will bring tons of confusion when speaking with customers.
What is the Microsoft Graph?
Simply stated, it’s a REST API with a single endpoint. Using the Microsoft Graph, you can turn formerly difficult or complex queries into simple navigations.
The Microsoft Graph gives you:

  • A unified API endpoint for accessing aggregated data from multiple Microsoft cloud services in a single response
  • Seamless navigation between entities and and the relationships among them
  • Access to intelligence and insights coming from the Microsoft cloud

You can use the API to access fixed entities like users, groups, mail, messages, calendars, tasks, and notes coming from services like Outlook, OneDrive, Azure Active Directory, Planner, OneNote and others. You can also obtain calculated relationships powered by the Office Graph like the list of users you are working with or the documents trending around you.
For more information, visit the full release here on the Office Blog:

Unified Microsoft API endpoint for accessing the capabilities of the Microsoft cloud
The Microsoft Graph today exposes APIs, data and intelligence across Office 365 and Azure AD. We are building toward a near future where multiple graphs and all APIs throughout Microsoft contribute to, and are accessible through, a single unified gateway to the power of the Microsoft cloud.
Any developer capable of making an HTTP request can call the API, from any platform, and once-siloed Office 365 services can now be directly navigated via Microsoft Graph. For developers, what used to be 50+ lines of code are now cut to five.
We’re also releasing SDKs to make the Microsoft Graph as useful to developers as possible. We’re starting with .Net, iOS and Android and then expanding to other platforms like Node.js, Python, Java and Ruby. Code samples for a variety of platforms are available on GitHub.
Unified access to rich data living in the Microsoft cloud
You can also think of the Microsoft Graph as the gateway for developers to access the rich data living in the Microsoft cloud.
The opportunities for developers to shape the way the world works are endless. Within the Office 365 surface area alone, consider the amount of data we have with:

  • More than 18 million consumer Office 365 subscribers.
  • 60 million commercial Office 365 monthly active users.
  • More than half a billion people managing their documents and photos in OneDrive.
  • Over 200 million downloads of Office mobile (WXP, Outlook, OneNote on iOS and Android mobile devices).

Unified access to intelligence and insight coming from the Microsoft cloud
The Microsoft Graph is the consistent endpoint for developers to access intelligent insights that Microsoft builds in the cloud.
And because the Microsoft Graph has access to your activities (e.g. documents, calendars, meetings), it can be used to address a ton of critical work and productivity questions, such as:

  • Who does the user work closely with?
  • What documents and topics are important to my colleagues right now?
  • What matters the most to my boss?

With the Microsoft Graph, developers are empowered to build smart, people-centric applications that can easily interact with data from all touchpoints of modern work.


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Joe Crabtree

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