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Microsoft’s Outlook and Office.com to get Fluid Framework makeover; what does it mean for you?

By Ken Wong - on 22 May 2020, 8:55am

Microsoft’s Outlook and Office.com to get Fluid Framework makeover

Image courtesy of Microsoft

First announced at Ignite 2019, Microsoft Fluid Framework was the company’s new approach to technology and set of experiences designed to make collaboration seamless by breaking down barriers between apps. From Build 2020, Microsoft is rolling out solutions based on it, starting with the Outlook web app and Office.com.

For example, rather than a Word document that is only a static form, made up of text, rigid tables and links, a Fluid Framework means that it is composed of a series of interactive elements whose tables, lists, graphs etc., can be edited by any Office user invited and edited in any Office app.

These elements can also be used or linked in more than one Office component like Word report and a PowerPoint presentation based on the report. Importantly, if an invited user updates a Fluid component, it will still be updated automatically within Word or PowerPoint, whether or not you are editing it at the time.


What it means for Office.com and Outlook

Being web-based, the framework of Fluid can be used to instantly make your apps collaborative. What this means for productivity is that tables, charts, and task lists can be easily inserted into emails and chats within Outlook for the web, so they can be found easily, and as you replace static data structures with Fluid data structures, your app instantly supports real-time collaboration.

Within Office.com, Fluid workspaces can be created and managed, including within your document activity feed, Recommended list, and @mentions—or search for them across Office.com. Additionally, as Fluid components stay updated no matter where they are hosted across Office apps, the information stays updated and relevant.

Dan Zarzar, Head of Product at Microsoft, said in a blog post that Microsoft’s Fluid Framework will continue to evolve as the company builds more components and enables more apps to support components, such as Teams.


Microsoft truly embraces open source

Fluid Framework at work. Image courtesy of Microsoft

From having once called open-source a cancer, Microsoft has over the years come to openly embrace the movement with support for open source initiatives like Linux and even moving Edge over to the Chromium browser engine.

Microsoft will be making the Fluid Framework open-source, allowing developers and creators to use infrastructure from Fluid Framework in their own applications.

You can find more information at fluid.microsoft.com.