I recently was awarded the Community Contributor recognition badge from the Microsoft Patterns & Practices (PnP) team! While it is nice to receive recognition, my support for this open-community effort goes far beyond recognition.
PnP has been a consistent part of my professional development for many years, and I credit the program with a large part of my growth as a developer. The “old” PnP was a Microsoft program where you could learn the “best practices” for building code in SharePoint, which has been my primary development focus for almost 15 years. I am not sure exactly when the program changed to be community focused and driven, but that change has led to the rapid growth of educational materials in the SharePoint space and is now growing into the much larger areas of Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, Power Platform, and so much more. The future of this effort could not be brighter. We no longer use the term “best practice,” as this program will introduce you to many ways to accomplish a task. The “best” way may depend on your “use case” or just your preference of one pattern over several “equally as good” patterns.
Led by Vesa Juvonen, with a team of Microsoft employees and MVPs, PnP should be the first stop for anyone interested in learning about the technologies listed above. The list of supported technologies grows daily, so I hesitate to try and list them all, since that list will probably be outdated by the time I post this article. I will highlight that there are weekly video calls available to anyone that cover the latest changes to the Microsoft tools for M365 development, as well as the numerous community-led efforts from the PnP team. All of these calls are recorded and available to watch anytime. During the calls, community members present demonstrations of solutions they have built and that are available for you to download and use, modifying to fit your need. (And all FREE!) These samples have taught me so much about how to build solutions that are fast, secure, and often requested by my clients.
The other area of PnP that I want to highlight is the “Sharing is Caring” program. This program was started by David Warner and focuses on helping people getting started in SharePoint and Power Platform development. His team also helps people that want to get started presenting at either online or in-person events, as well as providing a buddy program that partners experienced presenters with newbies to co-present that first session. The “Sharing is Caring” team also hosts a monthly Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) call with leaders from the different areas of the PnP community. There is so much more than I have time to cover, so head over to the links below to get started.
Once you see how much PnP has to offer, you will quickly start to ask “how do I give back to this community?” “Sharing is Caring” has the answer for that too, with several training sessions available on how to become a contributor, from updating the official Microsoft documentation, to contributing a sample solution into one of the numerous repositories build just for that, to being part of a team that creates one of the amazing tools that PnP offers. It’s not a difficult process and the feeling of giving back is all the reward most of us are looking for.
The best part of the entire PnP program is the people. Volunteers (yes, nobody is getting paid to do this work) are some of the most generous and friendly people you will every meet. These volunteers come from all corners of the globe. They are always available to answer questions and often are willing to just hop on a call and work with you to answer those questions. To emphasis again, these are some the the best professionals in the world for these technologies, and they are offering thier valuable time FOR FREE to help people like you and me to become better developers, architects, speakers, and community members. I am proud to call many of these people my friends and most of them I met though the PnP program.
I hope you will join me in this community effort. The Microsoft MVP program is centered on community involvement and I credit PnP for giving me the opportunity to be involved in a active, inclusive, and vibrant community that just makes you want to give back. My involvement is a large part of why I was awarded the MVP award, but participating with this community is reward enough. I promise you that you will not be disappointed with your participation in the PnP program either.
So, how do you get started? Here are some links, but the first one is the gateway to everything!
- Patterns & Practices: https://aka.ms/m365pnp
- Sharing is Caring: https://aka.ms/sharing-is-caring
- Weekly PnP calls: https://pnp.github.io/#community