Overview Of Yeoman Generator For Office Add-ins

Overview

 
Office add-ins are helpful to extend Office applications and deal with Office document contents. Visual Studio has been the popular developer IDE to build the Office add-ins. On the other hand, web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript can be used to develop Office add-ins platform independently, compared to Visual Studio which supports developers to write their applications on the Windows platform.
 
In this article, we will explore the Yeoman Generator for Office Add-ins and set up a developer machine for add-in development.
 

Yeoman Generator for building Office Add-ins

 
Yeoman is an open-source scaffolding tool to generate projects based on available templates. It also supports creating projects for Office. Yeoman runs through a wizard of questions to scaffold the project. It can be thought of as a replacement for File > New Project experience in Visual Studio. It can be used to create Office add-ins for,
  • Word
  • Excel
  • Excel Custom Functions
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • OneNote
  • Project

Development with Yeoman generator and Visual Studio

 
We have multiple options to start building our Office Add-ins. Yeoman generator offers more options compared to Visual Studio for development.
 
Yeoman generator
  • Supports development with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. We can develop add-ins using famous JavaScript based frameworks and libraries including Angular, React
  • Supports TypeScript for writing our code
  • Support for creating add-ins for Word, Excel, Excel Custom Functions, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Project 
Visual Studio
  • Supports development only with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Only supports JavaScript based development option
  • Support for creating add-ins for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook

Setup Developer Environment

 
Follow the below set of commands to get your developer environment ready.
 
Install Node JS
 
Install latest LTS version from here.
 
If you already have NodeJS installed, check the version
 
node -v  
 
Install Code Editor
 
Install any of the below code editors
Install Yeoman and bower
 
Run the below command (to install globally)
 
npm install -g yo bower 
 
Install Yeoman Generator for Office Add-ins
 
Run the below command
 
npm install -g generator-office  
 
NPM packages Update
 
Yeoman, Bower, Yeoman Office add-ins Generator gets installed as NPM packages. Use the below commands to check and update them.
 
To update NPM,
 
npm i -g npm  
 
To check outdated packages,
 
npm outdated --global  
 
This command will report packages that need updates. Use the below command to update the reported packages.
 
npm update -g <package-name>  
 

Summary

 
Office add-ins offer to extend Office applications. Yeoman Generator for Office Add-ins is useful to develop Office add-ins platform independently as compared to Visual Studio which is Windows platform dependent.
 
References