Blogger: Larry Cannell
Liferay, the makers of the popular open source portal, will soon be releasing a new product called Social Office. This is collaborative workspace product that consists of newly developed features combined with capabilities that were previously offered as portal add-ons. A Liferay Social Office site provides document libraries, team calendars, activity tracking, instant messaging, blogs, wikis, message boards, and announcements.
However, what I find to be the most interesting new feature of Social Office is its support for Microsoft Office. Liferay Social Office will support (as other open source vendors have called it) "the SharePoint protocol.” Specifically, Social Office will support two protocols used by SharePoint: MS-DWSS (Document Workspace Web Services) and Microsoft’s version of WebDAV. Documentation for these (and other) protocols used by SharePoint and desktop Office applications were released by Microsoft earlier this year. I blogged about this a few weeks ago (“Cloning SharePoint” and “What the heck is a SharePoint Protocol?”). In short, support for these two protocols facilitates the use of the “Shared Workspace” pane in Office applications. This enables management of document workspaces from within desktop applications like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.
Two new vendors supporting a protocol does not make for a trend, but I will be on the lookout for others to follow. Maybe then the argument could be made that MS-DWSS is the POP3 for collaborative workspaces.