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Open Source: Microsoft’s Fluid Framework Redefines Collaboration

By Dick Weisinger

Microsoft has introduced Fluid Framework. It’s being positioned as Microsoft’s next-generation collaboration tool. It will provide speedy low-latency interactions with documents. The framework will be part of Microsoft 365 offerings, but it is open source and will be hosted on GitHub.

The name ‘fluid’ comes from its emphasis on low latency. One goal in creating the framework was to reduce latency of interactions below 50 ms. Low latency between many users changes the nature of interactions. The idea is to break down the idea of monolithic documents. Pieces of a document could be collaborated on by hundreds of different people or even AI agents.

Nick McQuire, vice president for enterprise research at CCS Insight, said that “It is becoming clear you cannot single handedly live in one application, so the ability for companies to make that workflow more adaptive and easier for people to do tasks across different applications, while retaining an experience that they prefer to work in, is becoming really important.”

Rob Howard, General Manager of Microsoft 365 at Microsoft, said that “the thing that is most exciting for me is that breaking down of barriers between applications. I can start inside of Word, I can take a bit of content—a paragraph of text or a table—and I can work on just one piece with another group of people and move it into another application like Teams or drop it into an email, and the people on the other side of that chat or email can stay in the flow of their work. They don’t need to be pulled into my big document and figure out where I need input. It really does offer a brand-new way to work. Its part of the transition of Microsoft 365 from being a particular set of apps to being centered around a person.”

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