Yesterday Paul Thurrett posted a great blog Office 15: The Mile-High View discussing some of the new features and architecture of Office 15. Of particular interest to me was the following information regarding Outlook 15 and Office extensibility through Agave.
Hundreds of millions of users live in Outlook each day, making it the center of their professional and personal lives. And with Outlook 15, we’re getting a refined user experience with better navigation between the email, calendar, people, and tasks modules, and a new Peeks feature for quickly viewing information about your schedule, a person, a task, and other objects without leaving the current view and navigating to the relevant module. It features in-line replies, a new weather bar (in Calendar only, curiously), and finally integrates correctly with multiple email sources, including Hotmail (without requiring an add-on.) Speaking of add-ons, remember the Social Connector from Outlook 2010? That’s integrated as well.
Office 15 Metro UI in Outlook 15
Office 15 is also providing an interesting new extensibility platform, code-named Agave, which will work with both traditional, PC-based versions of Office as well as the Office Web Apps and Office servers. Agave provides what Microsoft called “web-powered experiences,” using a web extension model that utilizes web standards behind the scenes. Developers will be able to publicize their new add-ons using an Office Marketplace that will be accessible from within the applications and can be used by corporations to deliver secure, private solutions to their managed users.
Timing and Expectations
Internally, Microsoft is currently planning to complete development of all of the Office 15 products and services in November 2012, though a leaked road map suggests that they won’t actually ship to customers until very early 2013. Regardless of the actual ship date, I think it’s highly probable that one or more of the solutions will slip, and that as a result Microsoft will ship these products over a tight period of time, nearly simultaneously rather than simultaneously.