Microsoft® Office Server Extensions: Frequently Asked Questions
Published: February 1999
1. What are Microsoft Office Server Extensions?....................................................... 1
2. Where can I get Office Server Extensions?........................................................... 2
3. How do I upgrade from Beta 2 to the shipping product?...................................... 2
4. What client software do I need to use Office Server Extensions?......................... 2
5. What server software do I need to install Office Server Extensions?..................... 2
6. Where can I get the software prerequisites needed to set up a Windows NT–based server with Office Server Extensions?........................................................................................................... 3
7. Where can I get information on how to set up my Web server for Office Server Extensions? 3
8. How are Office Server Extensions related to FrontPage Server Extensions?......... 3
9. Will OSE be available for UNIX Web servers?......................................................... 4
10. Does publishing to a DAV server give me the same functionality as publishing to a server with FrontPage Server Extensions?............................................................................................... 4
11. Can I use SQL Server to store OSE discussions?................................................... 4
12. Do the OSE add additional administrative overhead?............................................ 5
13. How do I secure Office Server Extensions?........................................................... 5
14. How do I set up a workgroup Web site and discussion server?............................ 6
15. What has to be deployed when Office 2000 applications are distributed? How can I turn off discussions? 7
16. How do I assign users to a discussion server?...................................................... 7
17. How can users move to or be assigned to different discussion servers?.............. 7
18. What are the OS and Web-server configurations on which you can install OSE?.... 7
19. Where can I get more information about Office Server Extensions?..................... 8
Microsoft Office Server Extensions: Frequently Asked Questions
Published: February 1999
1. What are Microsoft® Office Server Extensions?
Microsoft Office Server Extensions (OSE) are a set of technologies designed to make collaboration centered on Office documents and Web pages easier. With OSE, teams can share ideas more interactively and synthesize team knowledge more quickly.
Office Server Extensions provide publishing, collaboration, and searching capabilities. They are built on FrontPage® 2000 Server Extensions, Active Server Pages, ActiveX® Data Objects, and OLE Automation. Office Server Extensions run on the Windows NT® Server 4.0 operating system with its built-in Web server, Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0, or on Windows NT Workstation 4.0 with Personal Web Server 4.0. Office Server Extensions work with Office 2000 client-side applications, the Windows® Explorer, and the Web browser to provide these new capabilities.
· Web Publishing. Users can easily save files to or open files on Web servers from within Office 2000 applications. They can navigate the structure of a web built with the FrontPage Web site creation and management tool in the same way they can navigate the structure of a file server. In addition, users can work offline with documents and subsequently synchronize the Web-server versions of those documents with the local copies.
· Web Discussions. Users can discuss a document by attaching comments from within either a browser or an Office 2000 application. Documents can be in native Office binary or HTML format. Users can comment on other comments, and more than one user can comment simultaneously on the same document. Discussion comments are stored separately from documents, so that the documents themselves are not altered.
· Subscription and Notification. Users subscribe to particular discussions, documents, or folders on a Web server and are automatically notified by e-mail of status changes.
· Search. Users can search a Web site using a full-text search, or they can search on Office document properties such as title, author, category, or keywords.
· Start Page. The Start Page provides easy access to all Office Server Extensions features, and provides an interface for users who don’t have Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 4 or 5 or Office 2000 installed.
Office Premium includes the OSE prerequisites—Internet Explorer 4.01, Windows NT Options Pack, and Windows NT SP4—and installs these components for you, if necessary. To begin installing OSE, double-click on Setupse.exe.
Upgrading OSE is simple. You just uninstall your old version of OSE and install the new version.
To properly uninstall Beta 2, you need the original Beta 2 installation source (you don’t need this source if you’re upgrading from a later version, including Beta 2 Refresh).
Due to database schema changes, you won’t be able to upgrade your discussions or subscriptions when you upgrade from Beta 1 to Beta 2, or from Beta 2 to the shipping product. During uninstall, you will be asked if you want to delete the discussion database. You must say Yes. The upgrade process will not cause you to lose any other Web site content.
On the client side, a Web browser is the only software required for basic functionality. Microsoft Office 2000 applications provide additional capabilities (users can access OSE features from within Office applications).
Different browsers offer different levels of functionality:
· Users with Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer 3.0 can access the discussion and subscription features of Office Server Extensions through the Start Page, via a frames-based version of the Discussions toolbar.
· Users with Internet Explorer 4.01 can access OSE features directly from the browser.
· Users with Internet Explorer 5 can access all OSE features; in addition, they can work offline with documents and publish to a DAV (Distributed Authoring and Versioning) server.
The following server software is required to install Office Server Extensions:
· Windows NT Server or Workstation 4.0 with Service Pack 4 or higher.
· Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0 or higher (part of Windows NT Server) and Index Server (installed from the Windows NT Options Pack), or Windows NT Workstation 4.0 with Personal Web Server for Windows NT Workstation 4.0.
· Microsoft Exchange Server or other SMTP mail server somewhere on the network (optional, but required for Notifications). To enable SMTP on your Exchange server, choose File, then New Other, and select Internet Mail Service.
The Office Premium CDs include all of the components you need to add to a Windows NT–based server for Office Server Extensions support. The OSE setup program runs automatically when you insert Office Premium CD 3. You can also start the Setup program (Setupse.exe) yourself. Setup detects whether or not you have the OSE prerequisites—Internet Explorer 4.01, Windows NT Options Pack, and Windows NT SP4—and installs these components for you, if necessary.
The Office Professional CD includes Office Server Extensions, but does not include Internet Explorer 4.01, Windows NT Options Pack, or Windows NT SP4; to install OSE from the Office Professional CD, your server must already have these components installed.
The Microsoft Office 2000 Resource Kit and the FrontPage 2000 Server Extensions Resource Kit are the best sources for information on configuring a Web server for Office Server Extensions. See also Configuring and Deploying Microsoft FrontPage 2000 Server Extensions, a white paper available on the Microsoft Web site.
Office Server Extensions are built on FrontPage Server Extensions. All of the functionality of FrontPage Server Extensions is included when you install Office Server Extensions.
· Security administration. FrontPage Server Extensions use Windows NT security to let you control authoring, administration, and browsing rights. FrontPage Server Extensions fully respect Windows NT security settings to control read, write, execute, and script execute privileges. Security is administered in three places: 1) the FrontPage-based client, connecting as an Admin; 2) The Windows NT User Manager (to maintain Windows NT user groups); and 3) Windows Explorer, to manually edit Access Control Lists (ACLs).
To these FrontPage Server Extensions features, Office Server Extensions add collaboration features, such as Web Discussions and Subscriptions and Notifications.
We are not planning to make Office Server Extensions available on UNIX systems at this time, because OSE uses MSDE, OLEDB and Active Server Pages technologies. These technologies currently require Windows NT.
You can put FrontPage Server Extensions on UNIX Web servers and thus provide Office Publishing capabilities. Office 2000 also supports publishing to servers that support the DAV (Distributed Authoring and Versioning) protocol.
Saving and opening is the same using either FrontPage Server Extensions or DAV. There are important differences, though, for site-maintenance tasks such as file renaming and file moving. FrontPage features like link fix-up are not supported on DAV servers. You also can’t use the FrontPage-based client for advanced HTML and site administration against a pure DAV server.
When a server supports FrontPage Server Extensions and DAV side-by-side, Office applications prefer talking to FrontPage Server Extensions because of its additional functionality and better site-administration capabilities. Also, OSE subscription notifications for document update, move, rename, or delete are sent only if you use OSE and FrontPage Server Extensions to save, rename, move, or delete the document. If you update the document or manage the document using DAV, no OSE subscription notification e-mails are sent.
By default, OSE Discussions are stored in a self-maintaining version of SQL Server called the Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE), which is installed if SQL Server is not already installed on the Web Server.
If SQL Server is installed, discussions are stored in the SQL Server database. You can also store discussions in a SQL Server database installed on another server. To access a remote database, install the Office Server Extensions with the No Database switch (Setupse.exe /nd). This switch prevents the MSDE from installing, so that the administrator can choose another database after installation is complete.
Using an existing SQL Server database for your discussion database allows you to administer it along with the data already in your SQL database. Should you decide to change from the Microsoft Data Engine to SQL Server 7.0, you can do so simply by installing SQL Server 7.0. For more details on configuring the discussion database, see the Microsoft Office 2000 Resource Kit.
OSE publishing is built on the FrontPage Server Extensions, so publishing administration is about the same as it would be for a server running FrontPage Server Extensions. For FrontPage 2000 Server Extensions and the Office Server Extensions, there’s now an MMC snap-in for publishing management. Additionally, there have been numerous improvements to security, Windows NT File System (NTFS) ACL management, and sub-web management. For more information on administering FrontPage Server Extensions, see the FrontPage Server 2000 Extensions Resource Kit.
The discussions and subscriptions features of Office Server Extensions can be administered via a Web page included with Office Server Extensions. From this Web page, you can monitor and control Discussion postings for space or appropriateness and monitor Subscriptions for security reasons.
The OSE create an additional user role, the Collaborator role, which can be assigned to a user or user group. This role grants users access to Web Discussions and Subscriptions.
OSE security is provided by Windows NT Server, Internet Information Server (IIS), FrontPage Server Extensions, and Office Server Extensions. To have a secure server you must use NTFS. FAT-based servers are always going to be insecure. How you implement security depends on your security needs, and may even vary from server to server.
In general, Office Server Extensions take advantage of the security features of Windows NT Server and FrontPage Server Extensions. During setup, Office Server Extensions set up four local user groups—Administrators, Authors, Browsers, and Collaborators—and provide the option of placing users in these groups. Once the OSE are set up, Administrators can control the permissions associated with these roles either by managing the membership lists in the Windows NT User Manager, or through FrontPage tools. There are some additional settings for access to Discussions and Subscriptions that are not tied to user groups. These are:
· Allow Everyone. All Windows NT accounts can access Discussions and Subscriptions. If you accept this default, OSE user groups don’t play any part in controlling access. We make it a default because we want to optimize for customers who are setting Office Server Extensions up in a workgroup where security is not an issue.
· Allow Anonymous. This setting lets the IIS guest account access Discussions and Subscriptions. Discussions and Subscriptions created by this account aren’t traceable to a particular user. This setting is off by default.
· Allow Basic Authentication. This setting lets Netscape users access the server. This setting is on by default.
Users for whom the security of their OSE servers is an issue will probably turn off Allow Everyone and Allow Anonymous and instead populate the user groups. They may also turn on Allow Basic Authentication for their Netscape users and may use as SSL to secure Basic Authentication packets.
The simplest method of implementing a secure OSE Web server with the least administrative burden is to use Windows NT Challenge/Response (also called NTLM). NTLM simplifies logons and end-user configuration. It is the most secure authentication, although Internet Explorer is required on the desktop. If some of your users do not have Internet Explorer 2.0 or higher, or need to work through a proxy server, implement both Basic Authentication and Windows NT Challenge/Response Authentication (NTLM does not work through a proxy server). This is the default setting for Office Server Extensions. The appropriate method depends on the browsers that access the server. Creating different rights for specific users based on content can be handled by implementing additional virtual webs through FrontPage Server Extensions.
Some Web sites need security that is even more granular. To implement finer-grained security for content stored on a Web server, you can bypass FrontPage security management and use Windows NT Access Control Lists (ACLs) to set permissions manually. Using ACLs, you can set permissions on a per-folder or per-file basis. This method requires more administrative overhead, however, as you need to manage the ACLs yourself. Working directly with ACLs is an advanced technique and must be done carefully to avoid weakening your server’s security. Security for discussions is set at the root-web level and applies to all discussions stored on the server. A single server computer can host multiple virtual servers, which you can use for finer-grained discussions security.
For complete details on managing security for the Office Server Extensions, see the Microsoft Office 2000 Office Server Extensions white paper, the Microsoft Office 2000 Resource Kit, or the Microsoft FrontPage 2000 Server Extensions Security white paper.
After installing Office Server Extensions, you’ll need to give appropriate permissions to people in the workgroup by adding and removing user names from the Author, Browser, and Collaborator Windows NT user groups. Users with at least Collaborator permission can join discussions by choosing the appropriate server name and discussion options setting. The default settings give everyone with a known Windows NT user account on a server Collaborator permission on that server, so you don’t need to add people manually. You need to change the default settings only if you want to give people publishing rights (Author permission), or if you decide at setup time to limit collaboration and browsing rights.
Discussions and collaboration are Office 2000 client-side options that can be disabled during Office Setup. An administrator who wants to disable them globally can customize Office Setup so that client-side collaboration and publishing components are not installed. For more information, see the white paper, Reducing the Total Cost of Ownership with Microsoft Office 2000.
You can use the Office Custom Installation Wizard (CIW) to set a default discussion server.
The CIW can also create a default set of publishing and Web folder shortcuts.
If you want to add users to a discussion after you have installed Office, you can e-mail them the name of the discussion server, and they can connect to it using the Discussion Options dialog box illustrated below, available from the Discussion toolbar.
If your discussion servers are secured, users need to be granted at least Collaborator permission to access them. Users can connect to different discussion servers by using the Discussion Options dialog box illustrated above.
The OSE require Windows NT 4.0 or later. Generally, Windows NT Server is recommended, but you can also use Windows NT Workstation, as described below:
· Windows NT Server 4.0 with Windows NT Options Pack (includes Internet Information Server 4.0 and Index Server) provides:
· Complete Collaboration functionality
· Best performance
· Most scalability
· Additional searching functionality with Index Server
· Windows NT Workstation 4.0 with Personal Web Server 4.0 provides:
· Complete Collaboration functionality
· One virtual server only
· Limited scalability
FrontPage Server Extensions support publishing features on a multitude of servers. For more information about the platforms FrontPage Server Extensions support, see the Configuring and Deploying Microsoft FrontPage 2000 Server Extensions white paper.
See the Microsoft Office 2000 Resource Kit, the FrontPage Server 2000 Extensions Resource Kit, and the following white papers:
Configuring and Deploying Microsoft FrontPage 2000 Server Extensions
Microsoft Office Server Extensions: The Workgroup Web
Deploying and Managing the Workgroup Web
Microsoft Office 2000 Server Extensions: Fast Facts
The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Due to the nature of ongoing development work and because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.
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