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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Microsoft after PDC 2008


Where is Microsoft after this year’s PDC Conference?

I think Microsoft is in a very strong position-at the head of many points of the market, and hot on the heels of the leaders in others..Cloud computing, Web applications, Desktop OS, Collaboration and more..

Windows Azure & Windows 7 have had a massive amount of buzz around them, and it nearly all seems to be good! I’ve got a few colleagues in the “Anti-Vista” camp but even they are cautiously optimistic about what Win7 will bring us…I am ridiculously excited and everyone else is looking forward to it 🙂

Azure instantly puts MS in the top 3 players in the Cloud space, and I don’t think it will be long before the No.1 spot is theirs.

Office Web Apps shows that Microsoft ARE taking the web seriously and as an answer to Google, it’s a pretty good one! This will bring online apps to a whole new section of users..I don’t use Google Apps for many reasons..but I’ll definitely use Office Web…

Live Mesh was another big part of PDC 2008 and this could seriously make peoples lives easier, faster and more fulfilling…if it’s executed correctly. Mesh isn’t a huge concern for me personally (at the moment) but could be important for so many others.

All in all I think the most important thing that PDC 2008 has done is breathe new life into Microsoft, it’s partner eco-system and the end users, who let’s face it are the ones that REALLY matter! People once again believe in Microsoft, are excited by Microsoft and dare I say it, people LIKE Microsoft!!! 🙂

As Steve Clayton says, this really is Microsoft 3.0.

So hats off to Bill, Steve(s), Ray and the 1000’s of others who have helped with this and long may it continue!

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