Blogger: Larry Cannell
Although Microsoft dropped the word “Office” from the SharePoint product name, the level of interoperability between SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 has taken a quantum leap. While previous versions of SharePoint and Office offered some integration (mostly unnoticed by the average user), the level of cooperation between the products is now to the point where SharePoint 2010 could even drive Office 2010 upgrades:
- SharePoint 2010 is required to run the Office 2010 Web Apps on an intranet - unless you are willing to run the ad-supported free version.
- Office 2010 can find files to open or insert on SharePoint as easily as files stored on the C: drive – A user’s “SharePoint Sites” is a list available under the Office client application “Favorites” dialog, alongside of “Documents”. This list can be managed by either the user or an administrator.
- Office 2010 can save documents to SharePoint as quickly as C: (even with SharePoint Online) – The Office 2010 client applications have a new feature that caches documents in local storage and communicates to SharePoint 2010 through the MS-FSSHTTP protocol. In short, the Office client application only communicates changes made to the file (not the whole file) to SharePoint. This will make the save operate very fast.
- For some Office/SharePoint 2010 scenarios, using a web browser will be optional – An Office client application can fetch document templates directly from SharePoint (these are associated with SharePoint Content Types), manage SharePoint-stored metadata (terms and/or tags) assigned to a document, and can even fulfill workflow steps for SharePoint-based processes associated with a document. None of these functions requires the use of a web browser.
- SharePoint 2010 facilitates multi-authoring of Office 2010 documents – Multiple people can be simultaneously working on (for example) a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet. To do this, the file must originate on SharePoint, which becomes the real-time hub for this interaction (using the MS-FSSHTTP protocol).
- Taking SharePoint content offline requires SharePoint Workspace – This is the role Outlook 2007 played with SharePoint 2007. For 2010, SharePoint Workspace synchronizes lists (e.g., document libraries, calendars, announcements, custom lists) with SharePoint. SharePoint Workspace will be available with Office Professional Plus.
As you can see, SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 are working together much more intimately than in previous versions. These integrations will also be more broadly visible to users. For some enterprises, this level of integration will be welcomed with open arms. For others, this may represent a lock-in scenario that is hard to accept.