This week at Build (Microsoft’s annual developer conference), Microsoft announced the “Fluid Framework” a new software development kit (SDK) designed to help developers build faster and more flexibly distributed apps that will fundamentally change the way people think about document and collaborative editing and will help keep it ahead of the competition.
What is it?
In short, Fluid is a framework for building collaborative editing experiences.
Unlike the current Co auhtorsing capabilities of Office Online and Office Pro Plus though, since Fluid Framework can can be integrated across applications, that also means that users will be able to, for example, create and edit a document in an app such as Word and then share just an abstract or element of that document, say a table, in Microsoft Teams (or even a third-party application that supports Fluid Framework. All of the changes to the element sync in real time as a full document would in Office 365.
In one of the build demos, Microsoft’s demoed users could use formulas to calculate a cell in a spreadsheet inside the text document to calculate a number that is then automatically updated.
In another example Microsoft demoed how a document can be created and shared and then automatically translated in real-time to a variety of languages, while still allowing everybody to edit it in their own language.
Whilst in another demo, and element of a word document was inserted into Teams for review and edit without the actual document being uploaded or shared.
A Microsoft First?
Not in a tradional sense… but Microsoft has said that it’s Fluid Framework will sync faster than anything else currently on the market today whilst also providing developers the tools to deconstruct and reconstruct documents into different modular components so that they can then be integrated into different applications.
Microsoft PR head honcho Frank X. Shaw described the Fluid Framework as a way to “break down the barriers of the traditional document as we know it, and usher in the beginning of the free-flowing canvas.”
The Fluid Framework isn’t just about collaborative editing but it’s really a rethinking of how modern documents should work.
Microsoft already plans to integrate Fluid into some of its Office 365 applications later this year.