I like the Word 2010 co-authoring feature I have seen but a few things are a bit vague to me, mainly around what is required to get it working.

  1. Is SharePoint 2010 required? If so, is SharePoint Foundation sufficient? If not, is there some other server component required?
  2. I know that co-authoring works in the browser, but can you also use the rich client (and mix with web clients)?
  3. Will there be hosted offerings (or do you know of any that already exist?) just to serve Word 2010 Co-authoring?

Co-authoring will be revolutionary I reckon, it's in my 'top 5 drivers for clients to upgrade to 2010'. In answer to your questions:

  1. SharePoint Foundation is fine.
  2. Yes web and rich client (i.e. Word 2010) both support co-authoring, the experience is basically the same from what I've seen.
  3. Probably, but remember that whoever hosts the functionality also hosts the data, so the usual privacy/security concerns some clients have (e.g. government, military) will apply. I foresee many clients hosting their own Office web apps, similar to how they would Outlook Web Access.

Some extra bits of info:

  • I believe 'require checkout' needs to NOT be set on document libraries you want to use for co-authoring
  • Changes are brought into the document as you save in Word
  • OneNote is different as it saves continuously without user action, and it's recommended to turn minor versioning off in doc libs which will store OneNote files
  • Thanks Chris :) so, what is the server component that is responsible for the actual co-authoring functionality? Is it SharePoint itself? Or is SharePoint merely used for the backing storage and you need to install Office Web Apps or something as an applicatoin on top of SharePoint? – Jaap Vossers Feb 4 '10 at 23:51
  • Not sure about server components, but it's handled by a new protocol, MS-FSSHTTP. This ensures only changes are transferred over SOAP, meaning that saving any file to SharePoint should be much quicker than what we're used to too. In terms of backing store, I'm guessing that outside of NTFS, something needs to make the protocol work with the storage, and SharePoint and Skydrive have this. I'm pretty sure the Office Web Apps are independent of co-authoring. – Chris O'Brien - MVP Feb 5 '10 at 0:56

On #2, Michael Sampson reports the web and rich client experiences are decidedly not the same for Excel. In fact, there is no client co-authoring of spreadsheets at all. Check out http://currents.michaelsampson.net/document-co-authoring/

  • Yep the parity of experience I was talking about only applies to Word so far. One day! – Chris O'Brien - MVP Feb 17 '10 at 16:38

I'd also like to see some more info on this.

About the hosted offerings; Microsoft will host the Office Web Apps in Skydrive. You can already now test it in Skydrive if you change your location to US. Only Excel and PowerPoint are available for creating and editing. Word is currently only available for browsing.

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