Workspace ONE Boxer is FINALLY introducing the Graph API

For those who have read my blog over the last few years, you know I have written several articles about Workspace ONE Boxer, such as last week’s article. I’ve been a long supporter of Boxer for On-Premise Exchange customers, but not really for Exchange Online users. I’ve pointed out several times that their lack of leveraging the Graph API makes that a hard pill to swallow. Today, I’m here to discuss the first foray into Graph (it’s about time) by covering what the Graph API actually is, how VMware “might” be using it, and a demo of the Boxer and Microsoft Teams integration.

What is the Microsoft Graph API?

So, when you mention the word “Graph” people tend to get a bit confused. Microsoft Graph is a REST API that lets you connect to Microsoft 365 resources. Basically, you register your application and get keys/tokens to make requests against that API.

Microsoft Graph, Microsoft Graph data connect, and Microsoft Graph connectors enable extending Microsoft 365 experiences and building intelligent apps.

The Graph API is comprised of 3 components:

  • The Graph API Endpoint: https://graph.microsoft.com which provides access data and resources exposed by Microsoft 365 services. Developers typically use REST APIs or SDKs to access and integrate directly with Graph.
  • Microsoft Graph Connectors handle incoming connections to ingest data directly into Graph services and applications e.g. hybrid search.
  • Microsoft Graph data connect is a toolset that streamlines data to Azure data stores in a secure and scalable fashion. These cached data locations are used as sources for Azure development tools used in building intelligent apps.

Some of the services that Graph works with are: Delve, Excel, Microsoft Bookings, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, OneNote, Exchange, Planner, SharePoint, and Workplace Analytics. Several other services are also available on the mobility and security side, but you can read more about the other services here.

If you want to learn more about the Graph API I suggest using their Graph Explorer, which provides a nice user friendly way of testing commands and seeing the results.

The New Features Coming to VMware Workspace ONE Boxer

Later this month (presumably), VMware Boxer will be introducing Microsoft Teams integration into a few places in Boxer. You will now be able to:

  • Create a meeting and add the Teams meeting to it.
  • Join a Teams meeting directly from the Calendar application.

Once released, it’s very simple to achieve with just a single application configuration key:

EnableTeamsOnlineMeetings Boolean: True

You can see below what the feature looks like as you add a Teams Meeting or have the “Join Teams Call” option available. I think they could definitely smooth some of the UI out, but overall it’s a nice little addition.

How is VMware Using the Graph API to Deliver Teams?

In the interest of fun, I decided to explore how VMware might be using the Graph API. Microsoft has a nice article on this here showing a few of the ways that you can use the Graph API to implement Teams into an application. They offer two different API sets to implement this: Calendar API or Cloud Communications API. My hope is they are using Cloud Communications API as its a much richer and expansive experience.

Some of the extra benefits you get with the Cloud Communications API are:

  • It returns the meeting resources itself independent of the meeting, which makes it more pliable for potential future plans.
  • Provides local-based join information (unsure if this will be available from day one).
  • Joining by video conferencing (obviously doesn’t really apply here).
  • Automatically admits internal users past the meeting lobby.
  • Supports the capability of relating to a Teams chat.

So to summarize, we will hope they’re using the CC API so they will support localization and fastlane through the meeting lobby as those are basic expectations of most users. Let’s take a look at what one of these onlineMeeting requests may look like in JSON for fun:

{
  "audioConferencing": {"@odata.type": "#microsoft.graph.audioConferencing"},
  "chatInfo": {"@odata.type": "#microsoft.graph.chatInfo"},
  "creationDateTime": "String (timestamp)",
  "endDateTime": "String (timestamp)",
  "id": "String (identifier)",
  "joinWebUrl": "String",
  "participants": {"@odata.type": "#microsoft.graph.meetingParticipants"},
  "startDateTime": "String (timestamp)",
  "subject": "String",
  "videoTeleconferenceId": "String",
  "isEntryExitAnnounced": "Boolean",
  "lobbyBypassSettings": {"@odata.type": "#microsoft.graph.lobbyBypassSettings"},
  "allowedPresenters": "String"
}

Workspace ONE Boxer Teams Integration Demo

Now that we covered the technical pieces, let’s look at the user experience when leveraging these features. I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I am.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been very critical of the slowness to adopt the Graph API inside of Boxer. At face value, the Teams integration is a pretty soft target to dip their toes into the shallow end of the Graph API. Now, we need to shift focus to the Focused Inbox API which is obviously a more difficult task since you have to touch and affect every email inside of the application, but it NEEDS to happen.

Workspace ONE Boxer is an application that has done a nice job of taking feedback and translating it into new features to meet business outcomes. One of those outcomes I will cover in my next article covering Enterprise Content inside of Boxer, which is a huge step up that is finally ready for prime time.

1 thought on “Workspace ONE Boxer is FINALLY introducing the Graph API”

  1. Pingback: Service – Week 06-2021 Workspace ONE Updates – Julius Lienemann

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: