Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Office 2010 Beta (OCS Integration)

At PDC they announced the release of the Office 2010 Beta, MSDN and TechNet first followed by General Download a day later; a lot of people were expecting this is be announced at TechEd EMEA but we had to be content with the Exchange 2010 Launch.

After using the CTP of Office 2010 since it became available I couldn’t wait to move to the Beta; but feared the process of having to uninstall and install all of the 2010 application suite. I could see hours being spent configuring it how I wanted and syncing all of my SharePoint Workspace (Groove), Spaces.

To my amazement I had none of this pain, everything was configured, SharePoint Workspaces had all of my Spaces configured and up to date along with Outlook being fully configured.

So after the joy of not been able to deal with emails for 30 minutes, I went to work through the backlog and noticed a few things have changed for the worse and some changes are just interesting.

The light grey on the folder list is now dark grey making it hard to read some of the greyed out text, I will have to work out how to fix (change) that one.

In the CTP the office icon was used for the File Menu this has now changed to the word File and looks a bit lost in the box; I have shown the CTP and Beta one below, personally I prefer the CTP one:

CTP:               CTP File Icon

Beta:              Beta File Image

Moving on the surprising part is the change to the OCS Integration, the Presence Icons have changed from being Circular to a Square along with the changes to the Contact Card.

This is a change between CTP and the Beta and completely different to OCS and Exchange OWA. The new Contact Card is shown below; this was in the CTP and has been commented on by several people.

Contact Card

The differences I want to look at is the presence bar on the left hand side of the photo and the smaller presence icons that appear next to a persons name in Email, the Quick Contacts Pane etc; incidentally the photo is retrieved from SharePoint .

The new presence icons are shown below:

State Contact Card Presence Icon
Unknown Unknown CC New Unknown New
Offline Offline CC New Offline New
Available Available CC New Available New
Away Away CC New Away New
Busy Busy CC New Busy New
Do Not Disturb DND CC New DND New

I do find it hard to tell the difference between the Unknown and Offline for the Presence Icon, but apart from that the Icons look functional and do seem to flow a bit better than the current ones.

So the question is, is this the future of the OCS Presence Icons or is it just the Office Product Group doing what they want.

If we take a look at another of the Wave 14 Products, Exchange 2010, the presence icons shown in OWA are the same as OCS 2007 R2. This is to be expected since they utilise the UCMA API, which is released by the OCS Product Group.

I would have assumed that Office would use the Communicator APIs, if they are, they either have a better relationship with the OCS Product Group than the Exchange Product Group or they use their own Icons.

So is this the product groups doing their own thing or just that Office is further ahead in their Wave 14 development, I guess we will only find out when OCS Wave 14 is released be it Beta or RTM.

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