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On my last vacation I went back home to visit family. As anyone who works in technology can appreciate, I quickly became the designated tech support person. So I spent part of my vacation patching, installing software and fixing computers, while learning how each of my family’s computer setups differ.
My mom runs Vista with IE 7, my brothers both use Macs and Safari (and wisely didn’t let me touch them), my dad runs Windows XP, and my in-laws run Vista with Firefox. This experience made me appreciate on a personal level how valuable it is to be able to work anywhere, regardless of the machine setup.
As we were building the Office Web Apps we set out to provide an Office quality experience regardless of which platform and which browser you use. We know that our customers will have diverse configurations, and in some cases (such as working from a library or airport kiosk) there isn’t an option to install a different browser.
The Office Web Apps work with some of the most widely used browsers, and we officially support:
If you prefer to use another browser you should still give the Web Apps a try. While we cannot officially support all browsers, customers will not be blocked from using them. It is a goal of the Web Apps to have broad compatibility and reach.
While we strive to make the experience consistent across each browser we support, sometimes this isn’t possible. A browser may not offer the same level of extensibility for certain scenarios. One example of this is copying text by pressing the ‘copy’ button on the ribbon. In Internet Explorer this will work (after a prompt), but Firefox doesn’t support copying to the clipboard through mouse actions, so you’ll see a dialog from the Office Web Apps similar to the one below.
Microsoft just released Silverlight 3, a free browser plugin that allows developers to build richer web experiences for many browsers and platforms. The Office Web Apps will work well without any plugins installed, but they get even better if you have Silverlight.
You may notice that when you view a Word document or PowerPoint presentation you’re prompted to install Silverlight. That’s because the Word and PowerPoint viewing experiences benefit from Silverlight.
There are some automatic benefits to having Silverlight installed when running the PowerPoint Web App. For example, animations smooth out a bit, and the slide will scale with the browser window size. However Silverlight is not required for rendering or animation.
If you’d like to get the benefits mentioned above when using the Office Web Apps, install Silverlight. If you’d prefer not to install Silverlight the Office Web Apps will still work well in the browser you choose to use - allowing you to work anywhere, no matter what machine setup you happen to find.
Gareth Howell Program Manager, Office Web Apps
Not MY browser then... **sniff**
That's fine, I'll be alright.
Opera users need a little love too occasionally though, we can't live on acid tests alone.
Flash Player can access the clipboard through a mouse click, can something similar be achieved with Silverlight? It would be a nice "UX upgrade" beside all the other improvements you have mentioned.
Massif, thanks for the comment, sorry that we didn't get your favorite browser into the officially supported list this time.
Once the Web Apps release we'll investigate expanding our supported browser matrix. Give it a try in Opera and let us know if you see issues.
Borek, that's a good thought. It will be interesting to see how Silverlight can improve the UX in areas that don't have consistent support across browsers such as copy/paste.
But will the "Office Web Apps Love Your Web Application"? Any additional information on the options and approaches that will be available for on-premises hosting of the Office Web Apps for integration within other browser-based line-of-business applications would be extremely helpful to the developer community. For example, will Sharepoint be required? or will developers be allowed to integrate the Office Web Apps into their own ASP.Net or Silverlight apps with their own central storage solutions? If so, will there be a license cost attached?
"Opera users need a little love too occasionally though."
And why would they need that? Opera needs to rethink its policies if it wants anyone to support their lackluster browser. Currently, the policies of Opera makes you want to deliberately block it. They seem to think that the best way to compete is by competing in courts rather than competing in the open market. Forcing Microsoft to distribute their piece of junk isn't going to help their market share. They don't seem to notice that Firefox is doing alright without any "help" from the EU...
Can you give us some detail on how the graphical features will work? SVG? Canvas? VML? Server-side generated graphics?
As web designer and Microsoft stockholder, I find it difficult to understand why Microsoft is unable to support the half dozen popular browsers: Windows - IE7/8, FFox, Opera, Safari, G Chrome; Linux - FFox, Opera; OSX - Safari, FFox Opera.
I design, update and maintain a number of websites and manage to support all the browsers listed above on the three platforms so they validate without errors. This is without any if else code.
It would be encouraging to think that Microsoft, with an undoubtedly larger staff, could do the same. It isn't really that much of a challenge other than understanding what the web is really about and taking notice that, at least for my user base, IE barely has 50% of the market these days.
Lets create sites that have no support for all IE flavours...
Google Docs doesn't require a closed, proprietary vendor lock-in plugin and Chrome 3.0 annihilates IE8 in standards support and speed.
What a joke this is, don't allow yourself to be locked in.
Google Docs doesn't specify Opera either **sniff**
"This site doesn't work in Opera because Opera has a small market share. To fix this, you can mask as Firefox. Now Opera has an even smaller market share."
"...If you prefer to use another browser you should still give the Web Apps a try."
Using Chrome gave me this page:
So they are at least sniffing for the compatible browsers and re-directing to a page offering to download IE or FF.
I'll stick with openoffice and googledocs - thanks.
Hi, greets from Mexico, ony lil problem is you guys are not providing any support for Silverlight in Opera, and not all browsers are equal, thats so right, because Opera is so much better than the crappy BS IE and FF together, thats why youre blocking it, as Google does, american monopoly sucks big time.
As a web developer, if I told my superiors that I wouldn't be supporting Chrome, Opera or in some way IE6 then I would last two minutes in my job.
Well I use more than 8 browsers currently (Google Chrome, Google Chrome Portable, Apple Safari 4, Mozilla Firefox 3.5, Opera 9.6, Opera 10 beta, Flock, Arora), all of them work fine with all sites, except maybe Hotmail, which is why I switched to Yahoo! and gmail. I have Windows 7 RC, and the first thing i did was disable IE8, for some reason it keeps insisting that it is my default browser even though I changed it to Safari 100 times. And by the way why isn't there support for Safari on Windows?
As for JohnnyBoy, I have tried Google Docs .on all of the browsers I mentioned above, and it works on all of these browser. It even works on my phone browsers ( The Nokia built in browser, Opera Mini, Opera Mobile, Bolt, Skyfire), the case is not so with Office Live. I hope Microsoft fixes that soon.
I think that there is a mistake in the title. It should be:
The Closed Office Web Apps HATE Your Browser.