Office, Offline Capabilities

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2010-01-12 Print this article Print

A nice new feature in SharePoint adds Web versions of Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote). Using these versions, users can view and edit Office content on the SharePoint server even when they are using a system that does not have these applications installed.

Makers of many modern Web applications, especially those in the cloud, have been moving toward adding offline capabilities. These are often made available through the HTML 5 standard or rich Internet application platforms such as Adobe Air. In SharePoint 2010, Microsoft is making it possible to work offline, but is doing so using a more classic client/server model.

SharePoint Workspace 2010, currently available as a free download, is a desktop application that may seem familiar to some because it is essentially the old Groove application. Using SharePoint Workspace 2010, I could access and use content on the SharePoint server and continue to work on content even when not connected to the server.

The SharePoint Designer application is an Office 2010 program that also runs on the desktop. If you've seen the Expression Web and Blend applications, then you have a good idea of what SharePoint Designer's interface is like. In tests, Designer proved effective for viewing and editing content from the SharePoint server, and while serious developers will probably choose to work in Visual Studio, Designer was a nice tool for controlling the look and feel of the site.

Search has also been boosted in SharePoint 2010-overall, I found search results to be much better than in previous versions of the server. SharePoint also integrates with the FAST search server, but I was unable to test that in this beta. Built-in Web analytics are also much improved in SharePoint 2010.

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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