Inspiration

  • People suffer from incoming data (mail and updates) overload
  • People feel the need to look at everything that's entering the inbox
  • The Human mind is quickly distracted, which cost loads of productivity
  • Email is no Fun, work should be fun!

What it does

  • Tweetdeck like feeds on Office 365 (mail) data
  • Excel pivot tables (slicing and dicing) on your email/social updates.
  • Ability to quickly switch focus (showing a collection of views on incoming data)
  • A FocusDeck can be about Priorities, Customers, Projects and other perspectives
  • A FocusDeck can have feeds that filter on mail domain, keyword, contact(s), mail properties, etc.

How I built it

  • I had the idea for many years, but technology was lacking a secure (multi tenant) way to access company mail data
  • Started with prototype against the O365 Universal API
  • Made updates when Graph API went GA
  • Focus on building the JavaScript framework to query data
  • Focus on building the JavaScript framework to display data

Challenges I ran into

  • The biggest problem is people have issue with trusting apps that access (read/edit/delete) their (corporate) email. When sending out invites people didn't want to trust the app. Now working on a video explaining the inner workings of the app (how we only query the API from the web client, during usage). Having the ability to get a (continues) App compliancy check from Microsoft would be very useful for start-ups to ship apps companies can trust.
  • The current App Model has no ability to allow 'granular, step by step' App rights (we now need a long list of permissions from the start).
  • Missing ability to query specific Outlook properties (like ability to query for Flagged items)
  • The limitations on Searching AND filtering mail data (for some use cases we have to filter datasets in the web client)
  • Performance (the ability to query o365 mail data and parse it in the browser
  • Multi (mobile) browser support

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

  • It's working!
  • People who see it, love it.

What I learned

  • Usage of Authentication (step by step maturity of ADAL.js)
  • Power and weakness of current (Microsoft Graph) API
  • Usage of JavaScript libraries suitable for dynamic data
  • How people think about trusting third party apps

What's next for FocusDecks

  • Granular App permissions using App model v2.0
  • Support for Outlook.com using App model v2.0
  • Office 365 Groups integration!
  • Yammer integration
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