Web Browser Support

We haven’t spoken about browser support much up until now. Here I will briefly discuss browser support, issues and our own experiences. The main functionality is supported well in most modern browsers. Below are the officially supported web browsers.

Operating Systems Web Browsers
Windows 7 (32-bit) Internet Explorer 8 or later
Firefox 3 or later
Chrome 6 or later
Windows 7 (64-bit) Internet Explorer 8 or later
Firefox 3 or later
Chrome 6 or later
Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 (32-bit) Internet Explorer 7 or later
Firefox 3 or later
Chrome 6 or later
Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 (64-bit) Internet Explorer 8
Internet Explorer 7
Firefox 3 or later
Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (32-bit) Internet Explorer 7 or later
Firefox 3 or later
Chrome 6 or later
Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (64-bit) Internet Explorer 8
Internet Explorer 7
Firefox 3 or later
Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 Internet Explorer 8 or later
Firefox 3 or later
Chrome 6 or later
Mac OS X 10.5 or Mac OS X 10.6 Firefox 3 or later
Safari 4 or later

Web Apps

The Office Web Apps are only supported in the more modern browsers. They are fully supported in Internet Explorer 7 and later on most Windows operating systems, Safari 4 on Mac operating systems, and Firefox 3.5 and later on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. Chrome is not listed as officially supported by Microsoft for the Web Apps, however as much as we have used it, there does not appear to be any problems.

There are some circumstances where these may be prevented from working correctly. These are; a 64 bit version of Internet Explorer is being used, Microsoft Office is not installed on the machine or or is earlier than Office 2003, security settings in Internet Explorer are preventing the Active X controls from running, the browser does not support Active X or the the client browser is Firefox, but the plug-in that enables Firefox to open Office documents is not installed.

Users are also able to view their documents on supported mobile devices. These are Internet Explorer on Windows Mobile 5, 6, 6.1 and 6.5, Safari on iOS, Blackberry 4.x or later, NetFront 3.4 or later, Opera Mobile 8.65 or later and Openwave 6.2 or later.

Outlook

Outlook is very well integrated, with both the desktop application and the web. One problem I have found is that it is not fully supported in Safari on Windows. At this stage it appears to be a compatibility problem rather than an incorrectly set preference preventing the full Outlook Web App loading. This issue is being investigated. Update – It turns out that Safari on Windows is not officially supported by Microsoft. So any problems that exist for anyone who uses this browser are not likely to be fixed in the near future, and it would therefore be recommended to use a different browser for any work with Office 365 on a Windows machine.

Limit To Sending Emails

As Office 365 is cloud based, Microsoft controls elements such as the size of your email inbox and the maximum size of email attachments. However one interesting point that stood out in a blog post was that you could only send 30 emails per minute. This raised the question as to whether it would be possible to send an email to a large group, for example ‘All Staff’. We have not tested this on a very large scale, but we have been able to send more than the 30 emails per minute limit, we were able to send in excess of 60. We did not reach a point where we could not send anymore however. Currently we are limited to 15 users, so a large scale test is not possible. The post specifically mentioned the Enterprise version, and I would be surprised if there was such a limit in place, say 30, 50 or 100, as a large Enterprise business could have more than a thousand users that you may wish or need to email.

It turns out that there is a limit of 30 emails per minute, however if more are sent they are still delivered. They may be queued on the server to prevent overconsumption of system resources though.

Migrating in the opposite direction

After reading some blog posts we were concerned about some of the questions these bloggers had asked and never got an answer to. One of this questions was “what happens if you want to leave Office 365 for something else?”, this could be problematic as we wouldn’t want to loose all our data if we wanted to migrate back to SharePoint 2010 (When we do upgraded I don’t think we would go back to SharePoint 2003 ever again). After asking the question in the community forum¬†I¬†quickly got an answer. It is possible to migrate back to SharePoint 2010 but only through a migration tool such as MetaVis, Quest or AvePoint.

I’m still not sure why Microsoft are getting people to rely on 3rd party migration tools so much, even they rely on them for migrating their own systems. You would have thought they create their own migration tools, at the very least they could have made some more money from it.

RE

Office 365 Suffers Outage

Microsoft suffered an outage of its Office 365 platform yesterday (17th August). The outage affected North America and was offline for a number of hours. The problems at the particular data centre affected some of Microsoft’s other services too such as, CRM Online and SkyDrive. It shortly became aware that the problem was only affecting email services, SharePoint Online and Lync remained operational. Microsoft later said in a statement that it took any service disruption very seriously and that any customers affected would be reimbursed their service charges per the conditions in the service level agreement.

More details on the story can be found here.

SharePoint Workspace

SharePoint Workspace is an easy to use tool that offers complete synchronisation of your SharePoint site to your desktop computer. This enables greater flexibility of how you access the things you need for your day to day work. This also means that you can access files when on the go and don’t have an Internet connection. If you made any edits to any documents while you are disconnected these will be queued for synchronisation until your Internet connection is restored. Another great feature is that when changes are made to a document, only the changes are synced back up to the server, meaning smaller and quicker upload times. Workspace also provides the ability to save to direct folders on SharePoint Servers as if they were folders on your local machine, making it both familiar and easy to save documents to the cloud with no new skills to learn. With it’s great integration with Windows you can even search for documents located on SharePoint through a Windows Explorer window, which makes it really easy to search for those all important documents.

However it does not support all content. There are some instances where data will not be synchronised depending on the way that it is stored on the SharePoint site, for example in a custom list.