This blog is a transcript from the Teams Client video featuring MVP’s Sigi Jagott & Tom Arbuthnot.
Microsoft Teams has many different clients, so in this video, Sigi and Tom are going to discuss what they are and how we use them.
Tom uses Teams a lot, and mostly lives on the mobile client because he’s usually out and about with customers so it’s more convenient for him. He uses the iOS client, and the Windows client, and he’s also in a lot of customer tenants. Here, he has individual browsers set up in guest tenants, meaning he’s in multiple tenants at the same quite often.
Tom used to use the Chrome browser, but he’s just switched to the Edge beta browser and found it’s performing really well. What he’s able to do is open different browser windows in private mode and then he can look into different Teams. What’s handy is both Chrome and the Edge beta allow profiles, which he has set up for each of his customers. Tom’s got a script on his blog which you can use for automatically generating Chrome Apps and Chrome Windows for each tenant. You can switch in Teams between customers, but Tom finds because he’s in and out of so many different sessions with different customers, he likes having them running side-by-side.
On the other hand, Sigi is using Firefox and there’s an app on there called Containers which is the same thing, so it doesn’t matter too much what browser you use. Sigi’s also not shy to admit he’s more of a desktop guy because he still loves his windows and putting everything on his desktop.
Unsurprisingly, Sigi is using the Teams App on his desktop, and he also uses iOS Teams App, which he thinks is awesome because it switches very quickly between the tenants and the performance is impressive.
However, there is some feature disparity, the mobile client has features that don’t appear on the desktop, so the impression here is that the desktop client is slower and a bigger platform to update.
The mobile client seems to be doing an amazing job because it’s bringing out new features more quickly and they're using some clever caching and mobile technology which is all very rapid and responsive.
The desktop client uses a framework called Electron, which is a developer framework that hosts a web app essentially, which definitely has some performance overhead with it. So this is why you should see reasonable performance out of it, and if you’re not, you should definitely talk to your IT pro or raise tickets on Microsoft.
The mobile clients are so well coded, they definitely put the desktop to shame in terms of how responsive they are. Electron is the overhead, so that may be causing issues if the client appears slower.
The mobile clients can also do some clever caching amongst other capabilities, and it’s the same Electron framework used behind Yammer and Visual Studio Code. GitHub owns and manages Electron, which is an open-source framework, and obviously Microsoft now owns GitHub. So it comes as no surprise that they're working hard to make the performance better and ‘snappier’ for the mobile client.
For Sigi, the biggest problem is tenant switching because he’s a consultant and works with a lot of clients, so to make this easier, he has a full list of different tenants and mobile switches are very quick. However, with Windows, you have to keep logging in again, which isn't the best user experience.
They both feel that consultants have to take the brunt of the pain, because if you’re a customer your bringing people inside your tenant like outside consultants so it’s not too bad, but if you’re a consultant and your working with five or six customers you do switch a lot and you definitely feel that pain more, hopefully, this will improve over time.
So what new features are available?
The biggest new feature coming up is the Private Channels, it’s been the hottest and most highly-rated feature on the UserVoice for a while.
You can create a channel, but everyone in the Team gets automatic access. So a Private Channel you would expect a sub-set of people that are included. It’s a common requirement to have this separate area as part of the Team that has separate information in.
At the time of recording, it’s just been confirmed that there is a Linux client in the works, so previously on Linux, you had to have a web client or web app. This just demonstrates how cross-platform Microsoft is being, there is a customer demand there and they're going to meet that demand.
Hopefully, we’ll see some more announcements at Ignite, so stay tuned.
Siegfried is a Microsoft MVP for Office Apps and Services. He has great expertise in Office 365 implementations with a special focus on Security, Messaging and Identity for international customers.