Microsoft has announced a significant upgrade for Loop, a real-time collaboration tool added to the firm’s productivity suite late last year.
At its annual Build event, Microsoft revealed it will soon preview a system for building custom Loop components based on Adaptive Cards, a framework used by developers to create portable chunks of information.
These custom components will be recommended to end users based on contextual factors, and can be shared across apps like Microsoft Teams and Outlook.
Announced at Ignite in November 2021, Microsoft Loop is made up of three core elements: components, pages and workspaces.
Loop components are best described as live snippets of data - in the form of lists, tables, notes etc. - that move freely across Microsoft 365 services. If a team member makes a change to a Loop component in Microsoft Teams, say, that change will be reflected in all other apps in which it is present.
The role of Loop pages, meanwhile, is to act as a flexible canvas that houses various components, files, links and data, while workspaces can be used to gather together all materials relevant to a specific project.
“For years, the established patterns of work were clear. Communication took place via email and content creation was mostly documents, spreadsheets and presentations,” wrote Microsoft, when Loop was first announced.
“In the last 18 months, the world has changed, and we have adapted to a new working environment where people had to complement traditional communication tools and in-person collaboration with alternative solutions. But we need to go further. That is why we are reimagining Office, adding new apps to respond to new opportunities, and making Office a universal, interactive canvas.”
With the upcoming update, the door will be opened to a variety of new Loop components, beyond the limited number developed by Microsoft. It will also allow companies to develop components that cater to highly specific use cases unlikely to be covered by more generic tools.
The new system will land in private preview next month, with a full rollout presumably soon to follow.