Microsoft brings Office 365 data to Android apps

Microsoft just open-sourced a software development kit that will enable Android developers to bring Office 365 data to their Android apps.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Just the other day, I gave five reasons why Microsoft should embrace Android for its smartphone operating system. Little did I know that on that same day Microsoft Open Technologies would open source the Office 365 Software Development Kit (SDK) for Android. With this SDK, developers will be able to let their Android applications access SharePoint lists, folders or Exchange calendar, contacts and emails.

Microsoft is opening up its Office 365 data to Android application developers.

Is this coincidence or is Microsoft really going to fully support Android. I know which way I'm betting.

In the meantime, here's what the Office 365 SDK for Android will be bringing us. According to the project's GitHub page, "This SDK provides access to: Microsoft SharePoint Lists, Microsoft SharePoint Files, Microsoft Exchange Calendar, Microsoft Exchange Contacts, and Microsoft Exchange Mail."

The SDK consists of three different and independent packages. Two of them require that you have the office365-base-sdk package to work. The SDKs are compatible with the following Android versions: 4.0.3 ,4.1.2, 4.2.2, and 4.3.

To help developers get up to speed, Microsoft has also included two sample applications. The first is an asset management app that allows the user to view the items in a particular list of a SharePoint site; add a new item with a picture into this list; and update and delete an item from this list. The second is a "mail contact and calendar app that lets the user view all his mails from the drafts folder and send mail, events from all his calendars and all his contacts."

Microsoft Open Technologies, which has the job of building bridges between Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies via open standards and open source, is also working on an open-source SDK that covers the Discovery application programming interface (API). Office 365's Discovery API is used to start and pass the user identity to the Office 365 service. Subsequently, this information used to initiate authorization flow gets the hosting location of services for that user, and gets the endpoints to the service.

This code is a preview so users shouldn't expect to see Android apps accessing SharePoint or Exchange in the next few weeks. Still, developers can start getting their feet wet with the code.

If you want to contribute to the project yourself you'll need to sign a Microsoft Open Technologies Contributor License Agreement. The 365 SDK for Android itself is licensed under the Apache License 2.0.

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