Web apps are all the buzz right now for Microsoft. With the release of Microsoft Office 13, Microsoft will be pushing developers to build web applications. For years Microsoft has offered a tool for developers to add add-ons into Microsoft Office. This tool, known as VBA, will still be offered in the new Office – but now there will also be a new feature for writing Office web apps.
Joab Jackson explains the new feature, known as the “Office Cloud App Model”, in PCWorld:
“The range of apps that can be created with Web technologies equal the old style plug-ins that could be created within VBA. In a demonstration, Jones showed off a number of apps built using Web technologies. One for Outlook provided a map for any addresses that are in the text of an e-mail. Another Outlook app allowed the user to add commentary to an email. An Excel app downloaded data from the Olympics, visualized the data, and allowed the user to parse the result by country, athlete or some other attribute.
Unlike previous versions of Office, apps are stored externally, not within the local copy of Office. Office will keep URL pointers to where the organization’s WebApps are stored. Office WebApps can be stored on any Web server, Jones said.
By storing apps on a server, an organization’s administrators have more control managing and updating the apps. No longer will each copy of an updated plug-in need to be replaced on every work computer. Instead the copy on the server is updated and the user will get the new technology the next time it is called from Office.
Microsoft offers the ability for enterprises to run their own in-house app stores for users to find and download internal apps, and Office will also offer connectivity to a new app store that Microsoft will open for Office and SharePoint as well.”
Web apps are easy to deploy, and this is what drew Microsoft towards the concept. Their model will be centered around ease of use, and if you know how to develop a web app you will be able to develop an Office web app.
What do you think of the Office Cloud App Model? Share your thoughts in the comments section.