Office 365 Beta… first look

Spring has sprung, flowers are bursting into bloom and more importantly I can finally use the picture of the Office 365 drinks can I’ve saved since January just for this moment (yes I know I’m sad!)

Having finally received the much-anticipated beta test invite for Office 365 last week I haven’t had much of a chance to play with it, due to perfect timing of the invite arriving slap bang in the middle of Moodlemoot. Now things have settled down again I’ve done more than create a few blank users so can have a bit of a closer look.

Before starting on what I’ve found what am I hoping for from Office 365 that I haven’t got with Live@Edu at present?

Smoother SSO
looks like ADFS should have this area covered so when I’m logged into my domain I should be able to get straight onto Office 365

Better file storage and management
This is where I’m hoping the Sharepoint element will come in and should give much better control than SkyDrive (think Recycle Bin and making it easier to organise as the SkyDrive interface gets very annoying very quickly if trying to move multiple files)

APIs to transfer files to and from the cloud storage area
Nigh on impossible with SkyDrive although this sounded hopeful at the time butin practice it only seems to work with SkyDrive photos…

From a Moodle point of view I want a way to get at my documents via the Moodle 2.0 repository API. In theory this should be more possible if files are stored in Sharepoint rather than SkyDrive but we shall see…

More fully-featured web-apps
The ones on Windows Live are great but there’s always more that can be added to get a closer match to the desktop apps (although don’t expect web apps to replace locally-installed Office just yet)

Lync will be interesting to try out, haven’t got a burning need for it at the moment but the video conferencing could prove useful, will be interesting to see how that goes after seeing it in action at Microsoft a few weeks back

Next post will hopefully include some screenshots of what I’ve got so far and how close Office 365 matches the points above 🙂
Another interesting question will be how much storage space Office 365 for Education accounts will get if SkyDrive is disabled… will the Sharepoint storage area match \ exceed the current 25GB… all will be revealed… at some point… hopefully…

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