Microsoft has made its
Fluid Framework initiative open source, as well as building it into Outlook and Office.com. Announced originally at Build 2019, the concept allows for elements from existing Office applications such as tables, charts and lists to be used within external applications.
Not only that, but these elements are then collaborative and update in real time. For instance, you could have a to-do list built on Microsoft code within an email chain that updates when someone ticks something off.
The idea is to help weave collaborative software from Office apps into the wider Windows ecosystem. Think of it a little like Google Docs but with the potential to spread throughout third party apps.
Microsoft said it would make the Fluid Framework code available on Github soon. Head of Microsoft 365 Jared Sporato said, “Discovering the full potential of the Fluid Framework can only be accomplished through creating a diverse, open, and vibrant developer community. For this reason, Microsoft will be making the Fluid Framework open source, allowing developers and creators to use key infrastructure from Fluid Framework in their own applications,” (via
While the idea is good, it might take a while to get users to think this way. Microsoft wants to get to a place where people can create components in an app and there share that component directly with someone else who doesn’t necessarily have to open it in the same application. By trying to move away from the idea of saving and sending files, the company has a hill to climb in communicating its vision.
If an element is shared and attached to another document, it is still a collaborative element – you aren’t creating a new version, it’s the same one, and it can be hosted anywhere. Well, that’ts the idea, anyway.
Henry is Tech Advisor’s Phones Editor, ensuring he and the team covers and reviews every smartphone worth knowing about for readers and viewers all over the world. He spends a lot of time moving between different handsets and shouting at WhatsApp to support multiple devices at once.