Microsoft Office Server Extensions: Frequently Asked Questions


White Paper

 

 

 

Published: February 1999

Table of Contents


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 NTbased 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

White Paper

Published: February 1999

For the latest information, please see http://www.microsoft.com/office/

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.

Office Server Extensions add the following features to your Web server:

         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 dont have Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 4 or 5 or Office 2000 installed.

2.    Where can I get Office Server Extensions?

Office Server Extensions are included on Microsoft Office Premium (CD3) and on Microsoft Office Professional (CD1).

Office Premium includes the OSE prerequisitesInternet Explorer 4.01, Windows NT Options Pack, and Windows NT SP4and installs these components for you, if necessary. To begin installing OSE, double-click on Setupse.exe.

3.    How do I upgrade from Beta 2 to the shipping product?

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 dont need this source if youre upgrading from a later version, including Beta 2 Refresh).

Due to database schema changes, you wont 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.

4.    What client software do Office Server Extensions require?

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.

5.    What server software do I need to install Office Server Extensions?

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 Internet Explorer 4.01 or higher.

         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.

6.    Where can I get the software prerequisites needed to set up a Windows NTbased server with Office Server Extensions?

The Office Premium CDs include all of the components you need to add to a Windows NTbased 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 prerequisitesInternet Explorer 4.01, Windows NT Options Pack, and Windows NT SP4and 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.

7.    Where can I get information on how to set up my Web server for Office Server Extensions?

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.

8.    How are Office Server Extensions related to FrontPage Server Extensions?

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.

By themselves, FrontPage Server Extensions provide rich publishing capabilities, such us Web Folders. Other functionality provided by FrontPage Server Extensions includes:

         Web management. FrontPage Server Extensions automatically maintain links, navigation bars, and themes across all documents on a Web site.

         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.

9.    Will OSE be available for UNIX Web servers?

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.

10. Does publishing to a DAV server give me the same functionality as publishing to a server with FrontPage Server Extensions?

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 cant 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.

11. Can I use SQL Server to store OSE discussions?

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.

12. Do the OSE add additional administrative overhead?

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, theres 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.

 

13. How do I secure Office Server Extensions?

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 groupsAdministrators, Authors, Browsers, and Collaboratorsand 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 dont 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 arent 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 servers 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.

14. How do I set up a workgroup Web site and discussion server?

After installing Office Server Extensions, youll 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 dont 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.

15. What has to be deployed when Office 2000 applications are distributed? How can I turn off discussions?

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.

16. How do I assign users to a discussion server?

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.

The CIW cannot be used to customize OSE settings (OSE setup is scriptable through a text-file, which you create manually).

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.

17. How can users move to or be assigned to different discussion servers?

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.

18. What are the OS and Web-server configurations on which you can install OSE?

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

       No searching

       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.

19. Where can I get more information about Office Server Extensions?

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

 

 

 

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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.

This document is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS DOCUMENT.

1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Microsoft, ActiveX, FrontPage, the Office logo, Windows, and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Other company and product names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

The names of companies, products, people, characters, and/or data mentioned herein are fictitious and are in no way intended to represent any real individual, company, product, or event, unless otherwise noted.