Create Rich and Interactive Data Mashups with Excel

Microsoft has launched a new service that allows developers to quickly create rich and interactive data mashups for their sites.

Microsoft Excel

Follow three easy steps to develop mashups with Microsoft Excel web App on SkyDrive using JavaScript:

  • Upload your workbook on SkyDrive
  • Embed it on your web site
  • Mash it up with our JavaScript API

Before you can embed your Excel workbook on a web page, you need to upload it a folder on SkyDrive and then set permissions on the workbook. Once   you have your workbook uploaded to SkyDrive, you can use the SkyDrive Embed dialog box to get the HTML and JavaScript code that will embed the workbook on a Web page. Now, you can use the Excel Services JavaScript library to make rich data mashups using data from your embedded workbook.

While the iframe code only displays the spreadsheet on a Web page, Microsoft Excel Web App also generates a JavaScript snippet that you can paste into the HTML of your web page alternatively. This JavaScript snippet consists of an HTML div element that displays the spreadsheet and a script element that sets options for appearance and interactivity. You can add your own code to programmatically manipulate the embedded spreadsheet.

Excel Mashup

Microsoft Makes SkyDrive Fun, Docs.com What? PDF Support For Hotmail Coming

Today morning the SkyDrive team was excited. My twitter feed was filled tweets and retweets about what is a significant update to the service. Though not many talk about SkyDrive when talking about consumer cloud services, for the Windows ecosystem, SkyDrive is pretty sweet.

PDF? Here you go!

The latest update has several changes around usability that  include right clicks, moving documents and renaming–an experience like on the desktop. As someone who uses SkyDrive a lot for keeping documents synced and accessible everywhere, the lack of PDF support annoyed me. Unlike Google Docs, Hotmail & SkyDrive needed me to download the PDF to view. Not anymore on SkyDrive. I can share and view PDF documents much like Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents on Office Web Apps.

My first reaction when I learnt about this was of joy. My second reaction was when will Hotmail bring in PDF support. As of now, a Word, Excel or PowerPoint attachment can be opened using Office Web Apps and no need of downloading the document. With the new SkyDrive update, I am certain that Hotmail will be getting the same too. I asked someone from the Hotmail team and got a positive response.

SkyDrive, the photo network

The other minor addition to SkyDrive which I really love is a tiny map showing geolocation. For those not cool enough to  use a Windows Phone 7 device aren’t aware that you can automatically sync your photographs to SkyDrive and the native Twitter integration uploads shared images to SkyDrive. Along with all the other meta information of a picture (size, format, camera, date), SkyDrive now has a map with a pin of where the picture was taken. This takes SkyDrive a step closer to being a photo sharing network.

Making documents social

Collaboration is a key feature of cloud computing. Google Docs and Microsoft Office both offer shared editing and access to documents; Microsoft however, has been working on letting you bring your Facebook friends into this and reducing the sharing complications. In a labs project called Docs.com, Microsoft allows you to share documents on Facebook  and set which Facebook friends of you have access to the document. Although Docs.com is a good product it did not catch the fancy of the Facebook user.

I wrote about Docs.com being on the chopping block an year ago; the latest SkyDrive update is another nail in Docs.com’s coffin.  The new social sharing in SkyDrive has a limitation over Docs.com as of now. Unlike on Docs.com, a document I share on Facebook is open to all, a shortcoming I expect the SkyDrive to fix soon.

I can now share documents on Facebook, MySpace (yea, I know!) and LinkedIn. There is the usual sharing via email. The neat addition to sharing is you can get three separate links to a document for:

  • View Only
  • View and Edit
  • Make it public

Coming Soon: Unlimited Cloud Storage To A SkyDrive Account Near You

SkyDrive-1_thumbWhen it comes to backing up photos, documents and a large number of files to a cloud storage provider, I always prefer using Windows Live SkyDrive over Google Docs, DropBox, SugarSync and similar services. This is because Windows Live SkyDrive provides a hefty 25GB of free space, which is ideal for backing up all my important files, documents and photos in a single location via Windows explorer. And since SkyDrive is a product from Microsoft, I am rest assured that my data is in safe hands and the company won’t close shop anytime soon.

SkyDrive has come a long way since it was launched in 2007 as Windows Live Folders, offering only 500MB of free space in early days. Gradually, the folks at Microsoft rolled up their sleeves and offered more and more free space, almost 12 times what Google Docs offers to this date. HTML5 features were added and a new domain at skydrive.com is a work in progress.

Its interesting to note that Microsoft recently announced deeper integration between SkyDrive and Windows Phone with the Mango release later this year. Microsoft’s biggest competitor is on a killing spree adding new features, updates and overhauling the design and usability of their products almost every other week. Chromebooks are already being shipped and if Microsoft wants to stay in the cloud computing market; they must prepare a strong inventory for their upcoming   product Windows 8.

Now here is another good news for SkyDrive users who often wondered when Microsoft would provide more free space in Windows live SkyDrive. According to Liveside, Microsoft will soon provide unlimited cloud storage for office documents and image files. Users will still enjoy 25 GB of free storage space for all other files with the 100 MB maximum file size limitation.

Microsoft is also organizing a Hotmail eventon October 3rd, inviting press analysts in San Francisco and New York. There are some rumors speculating that Hotmail might get an HTML5 interface with offline access, as an answer to Google’s very recent Offline Google mail. If I am not wrong, Microsoft is gearing up towards integrating Hotmail and SkyDrive in a way that makes sense to regular users, not just geeks. SkyDrive might just become the central point for all communications and file storage between Office Web Apps, Windows Phone, Hotmail, Windows Live messenger and hopefully Windows 8.

Save Word Documents to Windows Live Skydrive

SkydriveI would love to have a nickel for every time the word “cloud” is used in some marketing piece these days. Are your marketing numbers down? No fear, just stick the words “cloud-hosted” in front of your product, and watch your numbers soar! For a lot of people, “the cloud” is just some mystery term that makes no sense. Let me put it to you in the simplest terms. If you take data from your computer and store it on another computer outside of your location, via the internet, you’re using “the cloud”. Why is it a “cloud”? Mostly, because you really have no idea of the physical location of the computer storing your information, or of the physical path it takes to get there. Today, I want to describe how you can save Word 2010 documents directly to “the cloud” using Windows Live SkyDrive.

Windows Live SkyDrive is a service of Microsoft. It provides 25GB of free online storage. Two of the greatest features it has are document sharing between yourself and  other Windows Live users, and in-browser editing of the documents that you store there. Let’s open a Word document and see how this is done.

In the picture below, you will see a Word document with a grocery list on it. Let’s say that you and your spouse would both like to be able to access and edit this document remotely. An easy way to do this is to use a shared folder in SkyDrive. To begin the process, you click the “File” tab on the ribbon toolbar in Word.

Word Document

 

Under the “File” tab, there is the option called “Save & Send”. Look at the picture below to see what this looks like. If you click this option, you will see a sub-menu with an option labeled “Save to Web”. Finally, clicking that option will take you to a sign in box.

Save & Send

You will need a Windows Live account to use this feature. If you are a Hotmail user, then you already have one. Just use your Hotmail account ID.

Windows Live LoginOnce you are logged in, you will see a list of folders available on your SkyDrive. In the picture below, you will see a folder highlighted under the heading of “Shared Folders”. Selecting this folder will make this file accessible to all the people with whom you have shared this folder.

Skydrive Folders

Now that you have selected the appropriate folder, click the “Save As” button at the bottom of the dialog box. You will see a window pop up similar to the one pictured below. Give the document a name and click the “Save” button to finish the job.

Save As Box

The Word document is now saved in “the cloud”. You can access the document by logging on to http://skydrive.live.com from any computer. When you do, you will see your SkyDrive folders listed.

Skydrive Window

Open the folder that contains your Word document, and you can view, as well as edit, the document right there in your browser. Below, you can see a picture of what the Word document looks like in the browser, as well as the location of the edit button.

Word in Browser

Using Word with SkyDrive is a great way to collaborate with others on a document.  It is also a good safety net because it keeps files backed up in an offsite location.  Hopefully, you can think of other creative uses for this feature.  Feel free to comment on this post at the bottom of the page, and let me know your thoughts on the subject.

 

SkyDrive Refreshed with New Features and HTML5

Windows Live SkyDrive is the underdog of Microsoft’s Windows Live suite of web services and applications since it launched in 2007. While similar services like DropBox garner a lot of fans, an iCloud announcement from Cupertino gets favorable press. However, with 25GB free storage space offered and over 100 million users, I think SkyDrive deserves better.

Continue reading SkyDrive Refreshed with New Features and HTML5

Microsoft Gets Serious About Consumer Cloud Services, Buys Skydrive.com

While most of the coverage around iCloud has been how Microsoft is slow in reacting and has lost another race, not a lot of pundits point out the fact that Microsoft has been offering most of the iCloud features for a fairly long time. Microsoft introduced SkyDrive a few years ago and over time the service has become the backbone for Microsoft’s consumer cloud services.

Till yesterday, SkyDrive was a sub domain under Live.com (skydrive.live.com) and skydrive.com was owned by an auto company. WhoIs records show that the record was last updated on the May 11, 2011 and now skydrive.com redirects to a Live user’s SkyDrive account. SkyDrive’s integration with Windows Phone 7 in the upcoming Mango update will include:

  • Uploading videos from the phone to SkyDrive
  • Documents stored on SkyDrive will be listed in the Office hub
  • Search SkyDrive
  • Sharing images stored on SkyDrive via email or text

SkyDrive and Live Mesh are two of Microsoft’s best product names in my opinion. SkyDrive’s importance in Microsoft’s consumer cloud  strategy  became evident when the new logo was unveiled and Microsoft integrated Office Live in to SkyDrive. It was intriguing as to why Microsoft had not purchased the domain. Looks like Apple’s iCloud made Microsoft shell out the cash!

Update: A little more searching and digging led me to a huge list shared by the Frager Factor, the list includes region specific SkyDrive domains, possible miss-typed redirects and even WindowsLiveDrive domains (.com,.net and .org). Here are some of the domains:

  • windowslivedrive.com
  • windowslivedrive.mobi
  • windowslivedrive.net
  • windowslivedrive.org
  • windowslivemedia.com
  • skydrivefolders.com
  • skydrivespace.com
  • skydrivestorage.com
  • skydrivesync.com
  • msnskydrive.com
  • skrdrive.com
  • skudrive.com
  • skydirve.com
  • skydriv.com
  • windowslivevoice.com

Box.net Bumps Free Storage to 5GB, Business to 500GB and Unlimited for Enterprise

Online File Storage and collaboration service Box.net has bumped their free storage space to 5GB from 1GB and business storage to 500GB from 15GB. This makes them one of the largest space provider right now.

Also Read: How To Mount Box.net Storage in Windows Explorer

Box.net, one of the online file storage services has increased their free storage space from 1GB to 5GB which will now allow users to store a large amount of files online. They have also announced that they will be increasing their business storage from 15GB to 500GB whilst allowing enterprise users to store unlimited files in the cloud.

Box.net Storage Space

 

Business and enterprise users who have been using services such as SharePoint, and Sales Force get an added advantage here. However, for personal users, services like Dropbox which offer 2GB space and additional space for recommendations along with Windows Live SkyDrive which offers 25GB storage space along with Windows Live Mesh which providers users with 5GB sync space are more lucrative offers.

Box.net has built several data-centers to protect data along with also using Amazon’s S3 service promise better security for the files and documents stored with their service. I believe that this additional storage is definitely something which will cheer up users, both personal and business.

If you use Box.net, you might want to read up on how to use it as a local storage space in Windows. You can also access Windows Live SkyDrive from Windows Explorer.

(Source: CNET)

Gladinet Provides Local Access To Google Docs, Picasa Web, Windows Live Skydrive and Amazon S3

In the past we have told you how to mount a box.net account in Windows and even a fix for people who could not access the accounts on their systems. Gladinet is a freeware desktop application that will delivers web applications and online files to your desktop, it helps you access files from , Picasa Web, Amazon S3 and Windows Live Skydrive from your PC without having to use a web browser.

google-docs-as-local-drive

Gladinet mounts a network drive that will allow you to access the documents like you are browsing it on your local PC, so you open docs stored in your Docs account with a local word processing software like Microsoft Word.

Continue reading Gladinet Provides Local Access To Google Docs, Picasa Web, Windows Live Skydrive and Amazon S3

Windows Live SkyDrive Offering 25GB Free Online Storage

has definitely changed the way people store their files and in the past we have told you about several free online storage services that provide you with free online space starting from 1GB right up-to a whopping 50GB of free online storage space.

Microsoft too offers free online storage space in the form of Windows Live SkyDrive, earlier the maximum limit of storage space provided was 5GB, but they recently announced a significant increase in the free storage space boosting it to a whooping 25GB.

Continue reading Windows Live SkyDrive Offering 25GB Free Online Storage