Everything I know about Microsoft Groove so far…

Groove is essentially a rich client (part of Office 2007 Enterprise Edition) used to facilitate dynamic team working for persons intermittently connected to a network. Groove can also apparently work across networks without the need for reconfiguration.

It offers message board functionality, presence info, as well as most importantly sharing and merging of files. When i first saw the client, it reminded me loosely as an irc client (such as hydrairc) with some versioning features similar to CVS.

There is document integration with sharepoint – allowing you to work offline with a sharepoint doc. It apparently supports bidirectional syncing with sharepoint. It is also possible to kick off a workflow event when syncing with sharepoint 2007 (but I think this is inherantly handled by sharepoint).

There seems to be a way for indicating and merging conflicts on docs etc which seems pretty cool. The only thing it makes me question is why sourcesafe doesnt currently use these types of features – to allow multiple people to work on a file and then merge and approve their changes.

One of the shortcomings i saw was that the calendar cannot sync with outlook and apparently the sharepoint security model does not fully persist when syncing with libaries.

Architecture
To run groove, you need Groove Server. This consists of two components – a relay server and a services manager. The relay server maintains the flow of information, holding changes etc (so it feels like p2p – although other users dont need to be online), while the services manager is used to set up accounts / rules etc (note that this can sync with Active Directory). Note that Microsoft may offer to run groove server themselves as a service for small business – so setting up of groove server may not be compulsory.

http://www.microsoft.com/office/groove/default.mspx
http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/programs/groove/highlights.mspx

My overall impression was that Groove is really cool, but initially i was not sold on why it needed to be a seperate app. Still, i think it goes a long way to solving project collaboration issues.

Note that some of the above statements may be incorrect – please let me know of any errors.

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About the Author: rnowik

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