Microsoft is pushing to make Office more of a service. In their ideal world everyone would be using Office 365 and there would be no on-premises environments. Since Office will be more of a service Microsoft is providing a few updates.
Better Experience Across Devices
Microsoft is putting emphasis on having your Office experience be very similar across different platforms and devices. With a push toward Office being more of a service, they realize you may be accessing Office from tablets, desktops, mobile phones or web browsers. Keeping this in mind, they have put a lot of work into improving the user experience.
- SharePoint has better support for iPads and other mobile devices and is focused more on using standards such as HTML5 and removing non-cross-system/browser technologies such as ActiveX, Flash and Silverlight.
- Office interfaces have been revamped with better support for touch interfaces. If you are using an office application in touch mode, then menus will appear the same, but the spacing will change to better support touch.
- Settings can sync to the cloud to make your user experience easier. For example, if you are on page 40 of a 100 page word document and you switch from your desktop to the web, it will reopen at page 40.
- Application Streaming – Office can be running in only a few minutes.
What is new in Word and Excel
Microsoft’s attempt to unify the experience across platforms brings up an interesting area of development. What can you write that will run in a web browser, on a desktop client and a mobile phone? The answer is not VBA macros or VSTO add-ins. Microsoft has introduced a new platform of development code-named Agave. You can think of an Agave as an IFRAME which can be embedded right into your document. Microsoft exposes an API through which your Agave can communicate with Office.
For Word and Excel it looks like there will be only two types of Agaves: Task Pane Agave and In-Document Agave.
- Word will support only the Task Pane Agave.
- Excel will support both the Task Pane Agave and the In-Document Agave.
Examples of Outlook Agaves:
- Displaying a map when an e-mail contains an address
- Displaying the Yelp review when someone talks about a restaurant
- Auto-populating a new appointment window when someone suggests a meeting time
- Quick link to bug tracker based on bug numbers
Keep in Mind:
- Agaves only run at a document level, and are distributed with the document.
- In order to use Agaves in Outlook, Exchange 15 is required on the server.
The big think in SharePoint 15 from a developer’s standpoint is _API. SharePoint now exposes much of the SharePoint API through REST services, such as
The SP15 Technical Preview Managed Object Model Software Development kit includes a bunch of changes that indicate app support (SPApp, SPAppInstance, SPAppCatalog etc).
Items to Note:
- Ribbon is minimized by default (toggle with a pin icon)
- Outlook has metro-style nav at the bottom
- Outlook switched “contacts” to “people”
- You can share documents online using Windows Live