Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Microsoft Graph vs Office Graph

Microsoft introduced Office Graph a couple of months back which uses machine learning techniques to connect people to the relevant content, conversations and other people around them in Microsoft Cloud (Office 365). Now Microsoft recently introduced Microsoft Graph, which is a unified API endpoint, for accessing data, intelligence, and insights in the Microsoft cloud...and everybody is now confused :o). In this post I will try to explain the difference.

What is Graph?
According to wikipedia graph also known as social graph is described as:
The social graph in the Internet context is a graph that depicts personal relations of internet users. In short, it is model or representation of a social network, where the word graph has been taken from graph theory to emphasize that rigorous mathematical analysis will be applied as opposed to the relational representation in a social network.

Which means that how a person on internet is related or linked to another person and/or object(like document, image etc).This term was popularized by Facebook...for obvious reasons :o).

Office Graph:
The Office Graph uses machine learning algorithms to learn how a Office 365 user is connected to other users, content(documents etc) and conversations in a tenant and create a graph based on it in order to make suggestions.

If you go to Delve, the yellow section shows the information generated automatically based on Office Graph:

If we disable office graph by going into the SharePoint settings:
then Delve will not show the information generated by the office graph, it will only show basic about me information:

Microsoft Graph:
Microsoft Graph is an API with a single end point to access data, intelligence and insights from Microsoft Cloud (Office 365).

Let's understand it by an example, imagine a scenario where an app has to access a user's email attachment, upload it to SharePoint and then notify user's manager. Now that app needs to get authenticated first and then go to Outlook to grab emails and then go to SharePoint to upload files, which means dev have to have to work with three different set of APIs (Active Directory, Outlook and SharePoint). To overcome such scenarios Microsoft has introduced one API (Graph API) to talk to all Office 365 products. Microsoft Graph API is one API to rule them all.

Access Office Graph via MS Graph: Microsoft Graph API does not depend on Office Graph. However it can provides more functionality when Office Graph is enabled e.g. trends and related people etc. Click here to learn more.

Note: For SharePoint developers: MS Graph API is not here to kill CSOM and SharePoint REST API.

MS Graph API calls can be tested before writing the app with Graph Explorer: https://graph.microsoft.io/en-us/graph-explorer

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_graph
Ref: https://dev.office.com/officegraph
Ref: https://graph.microsoft.io

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