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Live Workspace: can someone explain the offline story?

I showed the Asus Eee PC to a friend the other day. She liked it, but won’t be buying. Why? It doesn’t run Microsoft Office (yet – an official Windows version is planned).

It reminded me how important Office is to Microsoft. No wonder it is fighting so hard in the ODF vs OOXML standards war.

Therefore, if anything can boost Microsoft’s Web 2.0 credentials (and market share), it has to be Office. I’ve not yet been able to try out Office Live Workspace, but it strikes me that Microsoft is doing at least some the right things. As I understand it, you get seamless integration between Office and web storage, plus some extras like document sharing and real-time collaboration.

I still have a question though, which inevitably is not answered in the FAQ. What’s the offline story? In fact, what happens when you are working on a document at the airport, your wi-fi pass expires, and you hit Save? Maybe a beta tester can answer this. Does Word or Excel prompt for a local copy instead? And if you save such a copy, how do you sync up the changes later?

If there’s a good answer, then this is the kind of thing I might use myself. If there is no good answer, I’ll stick with Subversion. Personally I want both the convenience of online storage and the comfort of local copies, with no-fuss synch between the two.

That said, I may be the only one concerned about this. When I Googled for Live Workspace Offline, the top hit was my own earlier post on the subject.

Related posts:

  1. Microsoft Office Live Workspace: what’s missing from the FAQ?
  2. Hands On with Office Live Workspace beta
  3. First steps with offline Silverlight and Live Framework
  4. SharePoint Workspace 2010 – what a mess
  5. Microsoft: Live Mesh or Live Mess? Here’s what to read.

2 comments to Live Workspace: can someone explain the offline story?

  • Kip

    Just tried it, Tim. Opened a document from Workspaces, made a change, disconnected from the internet, and hit “Save to Office Live”. Word immediately opened the local My Documents folder and offered to save it there, just as if it was a local file.

    I would suspect that for now, you would have to open that local document and save it again to the cloud once you got back online, but if there’s no connection, it seamlessly reverts to local.

  • tim

    I would suspect that for now, you would have to open that local document and save it again to the cloud once you got back online, but if there’s no connection, it seamlessly reverts to local.

    Thanks for checking this out. That’s not ideal in my view. It should save it locally but automatically synch it at the next opportunity. You can do this today with offline folders, but of course that doesn’t work over the internet or with Live Workspaces.

    Tim