Office Web Apps on Sharepoint 2010


I’ve recently started building the demo server for our stand at the BETT show 2010 and it’s been a fantastic experience! Installing server 2008 R2 was a breeze and Sharepoint 2010 went on with just one (easily fixable) issue related to a missing hotfix. Once I’d got those up and running, I decided to get Office Web Apps installed…that too, was pretty easy…although I had the help of a great Technet article and a blog over on MSDN to guide me.

First of all, the technet article to installation is:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee695758(office.14).aspx#bkmk_install_standalone

As you can see, I was putting it on a standalone server – for ease of demonstration if nothing else 🙂

The initial steps are few and simple but nothing appeared to be working. However, if you scroll a little down the page, you’ll see a bunch of

Powershell

scripts like this one:

$machinesToActivate = @(“contosoapp1”,”contosoapp2”)
$serviceInstanceNames = @(“Word Viewing Service”, “PowerPoint Service”,
“Excel Calculation Services”)
foreach ($machine in $machinesToActivate) {
foreach ($serviceInstance in $serviceInstanceNames){
     $serviceID = $(Get-SPServiceInstance | where
         {$_.TypeName -match $serviceInstance} | where
         {$_.Server -match "SPServer Name="+$machine}).ID
     Start-SPServiceInstance -Identity $serviceID
}
        }

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As the note above shows, these Powershell scripts are only required in certain instances…and of course, I had that instance 🙂 Luckily, just copying the scripts from Technet and pasting into the Powershell window worked perfectly…which was good!

At this point I could see that everything was where it should be and services seemed to be running etc, so I headed over to the demo site I’d set up to test it. Unfortunately I kept getting an error message…so back to Bing, where I found this extremely helpful post:

http://blogs.msdn.com/officewebapps/archive/2009/11/18/9924525.aspx

I had a read through and quickly saw the problem. It was simple and obvious but had confounded me for about 45 minutes (don’t say it!)…it was:

“Activate “Office Web Apps,” listed under SharePoint’s Site Collection Features, on each site collection for which Office Web Apps should be available.”

So that was the missing step…activating it inside Sharepoint…D’oh! Homer Simpson

Microsoft Office Web Apps


Microsoft’s Office Web Apps have garnered a lot of interest recently as a new way of interacting with Office, and as a competitive move against Google Docs. Despite me having had the Tech Preview of Office for a while (and indeed, I installed the beta tonight), I’ve just got Web Apps in my Windows Live SkyDrive…so let’s take a look 🙂

I now have a button entitled “New”:

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Excel Workbook:

After giving the workbook a name, you’re presented with what is easily recognisable as an Excel Workbook:

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You can see that most of the ribbons tabs are missing, here we have just “Home” and “Insert”, but I can do pretty much everything I generally need to do in Excel. Admittedly I’m nowhere near a Power User but I think I’m probably a typical user..

FAQs:

Can I do Sums? Yes:

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Can I drag a formula down into other cells? No

Can I create Charts? No

Can I change font size, colour and type? Yes

Can I insert tables? Yes

Can I do filters? Yes, if you insert the data into a table:

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Can I paste into Excel Web Apps from other programs? Yes

The “File” menu has some extra options too:

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Word:

Word Web App isn’t available yet:

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Powerpoint:

Powerpoint Online is similar to Excel, in that it is cut down but contains all the basic features you’re likely to need:

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You get a choice of different types of slide when you add a new one:

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Something I wasn’t expecting is a great choice of Smart Art:

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That’s pretty impressive 🙂

The Slideshow works perfectly well but it opens up in a new browser window, so it gets stopped by pop-up blockers.

The big thing that’s missing is Transitions though…maybe they’ll be coming soon…

OneNote:

Same as Word, OneNote isn’t available yet:

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