Introduction to Microsoft Graph

Author by Tayo Adegoke

What is the Microsoft Graph?

Microsoft has been in the Cloud Business for several decades, and through that journey, has acquired tens of thousands of customers.  Microsoft is at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence development, and democratizing access to this capability.  Specifically, Microsoft is providing each of its cloud customers with access to the data they have access to, and intelligence based on it, through the Microsoft Graph.  Microsoft Graph is an API driven service available to Microsoft Cloud customers consuming certain services.  The Graph API provides not just access to pre-existing data, but also the ability to kick off actions using Microsoft Cloud services which leads to the creation or update of net new or incremental data. 
 

Which Cloud Services do I have to consume to be able to use the Graph?

By using the following services, your organization is creating rich, insightful data that can be examined to understand how your users are interacting with cloud services, and measure how effective adoption of best business practices driven by organizational change management processes are:
  • Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)
    • If you are using Azure, Office 365 and/or Dynamics 365, you are likely using Azure AD already
  • Office 365 services: SharePoint, OneDrive, Outlook/Exchange, Microsoft Teams, OneNote, Planner, and Excel
  • Enterprise Mobility and Security services: Identity Manager, Intune, Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA), and Advanced Threat Protection (ATP).
  • Windows 10 services: activities and devices
  • Education
 

How do I get started?

To explore the power of the Graph API and the many scenarios it enables, Microsoft created the Graph Explorer, accessible through your favorite web browser.  To start, execute the following steps:
  1. Browse to https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/graph-explorer.  This page is running under the context of a sample user, and is great for demo purposes.  If you want to operate this under your Microsoft Cloud identity for your organization, click on the “Sign in with Microsoft” button and follow the prompts to log you in using your assigned organization ID.Tayo-graph-image-1.jpg
  2. On the left-hand side, you will find several queries to get you started.  Most of these sample queries “get” data back from the Cloud.  Note that this data is security trimmed to what you have access to.  Click on the queries you are interested in and then run it by clicking on the “Run Query” button on the top right-hand side of the page.  The response preview box will reveal the data that your query execution gets back from the relevant Microsoft Cloud service.Tayo-graph-image-2.jpg
  3. After executing several initial queries to get familiar with the Graph Explorer and the data sets you can retrieve, you are ready to further explore the fundamentals of this API.  For a wider array of sample queries (dozens more queries!), you can click on the “show more samples” link under the “Getting Started” section on the left-hand side of the Explorer.  This brings up a wealth of other query types you can run to interact with: 
    1. Users
    1. Groups
    1. Outlook Mail
    1. Outlook Calendar
    1. Personal Contacts
    1. OneDrive for Business
    1. Excel
    1. Planner
    1. Insights
    1. People
    1. Extensions
    1. OneNote
    1. SharePoint Sites
    1. SharePoint Lists
    1. Batching
    1. Microsoft Teams
    1. Security
    1. User Activities
    1. Applications
    1. Notifications
     
    Tayo-graph-image-3.jpg

    Note that some of these queries are still in beta.The current production ready version of the API is 1.0

  4. To explore the API, in addition to providing feedback as well as requesting for new features, browse to https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/docs/concepts/v1-overview