Just a little update on some features that we have not previously reported about. Today I found an interesting article that talks about some features that I had not thought of. One of which is that there is the option to integrate Office 365 with your own hardware, although Microsoft has not said much about this option as of yet and is concentrating its efforts on hosting and cloud space.
The other interesting feature I had not considered is that as this is a subscription service, as long as you subscribe to the Professional Plus version, you will receive free updates to Office and even entirely new versions. The next version of Office is currently in the works and is codenamed Office 15.
More on this article can be found at: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/realworld/365749/what-microsoft-got-right-in-office-365
Microsoft appears to be already planning for an expansion of services provided with Office 365. In an article posted by Mary Jo Foley on Zdnet, it is suggested that Microsoft is planning to introduce Visio and Project to the cloud to join a handful of other services already offered. This is a surprising move considering it’s less than a month ago that the service was officially launched to the public. However it does show that Microsoft is committed to the service and the Office 365 brand.
Full details of the story can be found here: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-to-boost-office-365-with-project-and-visio-cloud-services/10057
Microsoft Office 365 comes with an external customer facing website for the users. This is a prebuilt website using a prebuilt master page and CSS file. Office 365 gives the users the ability to easily update the website directly from the 365 Team Site, using the inbuilt tools provided. The user has the ability to add/remove pages, edit content and insert gadgets. Gadgets can be a useful tool to the developer, it allows certain useful objects to be inserted into the site without any programming knowledge at all, for example, the user can add an interactive map into their site, giving the consumer directions on how to reach their store, the user can also add a ‘contact us’ form into the site which will send an email direct to whoever deals with consumer questions. This is not the extent of the site customization.
We have found that many websites reviewing Office 365 have had an issue in the web development side of things, claiming that there are very few ways a user can customize their site. They say that a user is not able to edit the the HTML of the site, however, I have found this a fairly simple thing to accomplish. An external web .ASPX page can be taken from Microsoft Workspace 2010 and opened in Sharepoint designer. From here I have easily been able to add new content into the website in HTML form, for example, I inserted the Database that I created the previous day into the site using an iframe, this was fairly easy and it looked very appealing. Unfortunately, their issues with the web development area aren’t completely unfounded. When editing the external page, I realised I needed to alter the master page file, after sometime it became clear that it was hidden from the user. This meant that I was not able to edit the entire look of the page at all. Although there is a way to work around this, the user can create another master page from scratch and upload this onto the server and direct the site pages to this master page rather than its original master page.
This custimazation allows the developer create the customer facing site, making it look however they want and not just an extension of Sharepoint and Office 365.
My first update, so far I have mostly been looking at both Web & Desktop app features with Office 365.
Not a lot of noise has been made about being able to upload Access Databases into Office 365 SharePoint Online as of yet, most of the focus has been drawn to the simpler applications such as Word and Excel. I find this to be quite a useful feature in Office 365. Access database forms are ideal for 365, they are best used for browsing records in database and also adding,
deleting and editing. For example a user can create a web database on Access 2010, create tables, forms, queries and reports. Once this is done, they simply go into options, set the page to automatically display a form or report (or whatever) once opened then go to file->Save & Publish, go to ‘Publish to Access Services’ and type in the URL or the site and a new folder name for it and click publish. I published a mock database onto the ADP site at http://adp.sharepoint.com/TeamSite/ADP%20Data/ which appeared almost instantaneously, I could then browse records in a form that I had produced.
I found this to be an incredibly quick and easy proccess with little effort or even knowledge required. Once displayed on the website it appeared to very visually appealing, looking exactly the same as it it did in Access.
The same can be done similarly with Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. However for this Microsoft Sharepoint Workspace needs to be set up properly with Office 365 sharepoint online. Once this is configured properly the user can click save as, click the word/excel button, select wich workspace to upload to then select the subfolder they wish to display the document and click save, the document willt hen be on 365 Team Site or wherever the user chose to upload.
In an article by Michael Otey, the top 10 features of the service are suggested to be as follows;
- Team Sites
- Excel Web App
- Work Web App
- Outlook Web App
- OneNote Web App
- PowerPoint Web App
- Web desing app
- Lync 2010
- High availability
- Browser based access
For the full story, see http://www.sharepointpromag.com/article/office-365/top-ten-features-office-365-136405http://www.sharepointpromag.com/article/office-365/top-ten-features-office-365-136405