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Chapter 8. Sharing Office Documents > Office Web Discussions

Office Web Discussions

In Office 2000, Microsoft introduced support for a feature called Web discussions. Using this capability, members of a workgroup can share comments about Office documents and Web pages, even when the members of the workgroup are scattered across wide geographic locations and don't have the capability to directly modify the documents themselves. Like many Microsoft technologies, this feature has not been significantly upgraded since its introduction, and we wouldn't be surprised to see it quietly disappear in future versions of Office—its capabilities are extremely limited, especially in comparison with the advanced features available when you combine e-mail and a SharePoint server.

It's important to understand the architecture of Web discussions. As Figure 8.7 shows, comments do not appear within the Office document or Web page itself; instead, a Web server stores the comments in a discussion database that uses the SQL database engine on the Web server. Each entry in the database includes the text of the comment, information about who posted it, and a pointer to the document or Web page with which it's associated. When you open a Web page or Office document, you can click a button or choose a menu option to display those comments in a separate pane within the application or browser window.


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