Microsoft Office 2010 is set to release relatively soon. One of the capabilities that Enterprise customers will have when they are properly licensed for Office on the desktop, is that they are also licensed to use the Office Web Apps.
What are Office Web Apps?
Office Web Apps are web-based versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote. They are run on a server and provide users the ability to view & edit actual Office documents (.DOC, .XLS, .PPT, .ONE) using exclusively a modern web-browser that is capable of AJAX, DHTML, and little else. No Silverlight, no Flash, nothing needs to be installed on the client to provide this functionality.
Are Office Web Apps any good?
What is notable about Office Web Apps is that it provides the BEST fidelity in Office document consumption. Not only does Office Web Apps render and display Office documents richly and accurately, it allows full editing while maintaining the integrity of the document – i.e. it’ll display it correctly and won’t screw it up when you save, unlike other web-based applications such as Google Docs & Google Spreadsheet.
So what infrastructure is required for Office Web Apps?
The following blog post on Deploying Office Web Apps in the Enterprise gives good instructions on how to get things going: http://blogs.msdn.com/officewebapps/archive/2009/11/18/9924525.aspx.
It references the OWA deployment guide available at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=166485&clcid=0×409. From a capacity planning perspective, the product group is still working on the final materials, but offered the following advice: Please note that Office Web Apps are run from SharePoint 2010. You can refer to the following guidance to do capacity planning for SharePoint 2010: http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint/archive/2009/05/11/announcing-sharepoint-server-2010-preliminary-system-requirements.aspx