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Microsoft unveils Office 365 SDK and APIs for iOS app extensibility

Example of Office 365 integration with IFTTT.

Microsoft on Tuesday revealed a multi-pronged initiative to supply developers with new Office 365 APIs and open-source SDKs, which can be used to tap into the company's cloud-based productivity platform for deep iOS app integration.

At TechEd Europe, Microsoft announced three new tools for developers in Office 365 APIs, new mobile SDKs for both iOS and Android, and access to the Office 365 app launcher.

Technical product management team leader Arpan Shah said the new capabilities, especially REST-based APIs for mail, files, calendars and contacts, will allow developers to seamlessly integrate Office 365 features into their apps. The assets are an opportunity for the company to build out extensibility across multiple platforms, including the Web. On the iOS side, developers will see support for Objective-C, with support for Apple's Swift programming language coming soon.

Shah offered an example in which an iOS reservations app integrating the new APIs can cross-check an Office 365 calendar, suggest a non-conflicting date for travel and update the calendar accordingly. In another example, a tasks app harnesses the contacts API, allowing users to schedule meetings and send out notifications to contacts stored in their Office 365 directory.

Some developers are already working on integration, including Web-based utility If This Then That (IFTTT), which plans to roll in Office 365 mail, contacts, calendar and file APIs in the coming weeks.

For consumers, the upcoming extensibility features will be largely transparent, though they will need to sign in to their Office 365 cloud accounts to authenticate on a per app basis once developers roll out supporting software. Shah says the process is akin to Facebook's login button.

The new open APIs, SDKs and support material are available from Microsoft's website.