At Build 2019, Microsoft announced Fluid Framework, a new technology and set of experiences that will make collaboration seamless by allowing real-time low latency collaboration, breaking the boundaries between document types. In this event, Microsoft demonstrated various use cases of Fluid Framework like real-time collaboration and co-authoring, compound documents, AI-based real-time translations, editing suggestions, intelligent agents, and more.

In the keynote example, if multi-persons are co-authoring on web or document content with Fluid Framework, then the text typed by one person on the screen will appear instantly on other screens without any delay. Fluid co-authoring experience is much faster than the current experience that we have in the Office documents. In the current experience, multiple team members can work on the same document, but still, the content tends to appear in chunks and not in real-time.

Fluid Framework lets us decompose a document into paragraphs and individual components, take a table, paste it into another application, like Outlook or Teams, so that people can collaborate in the context of where they are, and continue to do their own work,” said Rob Howard, general manager of Microsoft 365 Foundations.

The most exciting and powerful keynote example was integrated experience across the applications using a componentized document model.

In this example, if one person is working on Word document and needs suggestions on just one piece of content like a table or paragraph from other team members, then in this case, instead of sharing the entire document to another team, you just need to copy that content block and move it into another application like MS TEAMS or drop it into an email. No need to pull other team members into that document and find out where they need to put their inputs.

They just have to update that piece of content in the shared application, and it instantly gets reflected in the source document. With the componentized document model, Fluid Framework allows authors to deconstruct content into collaborative building blocks that can be used across applications and combine them in a newer flexible kind of document that is not limited to MS Office document or spreadsheet or a slide deck. In Windows, with OLE objects, we do similar type of functionality, but performance is abysmal, thus not widely used.

One key part of Fluid Framework is AI-based tools and intelligent agents to work alongside us to translate text, fetch content, checking compliance, suggesting edits, and more. AI-based agents provide more integrated experience by suggesting the best kind of chart to visualize the data in a table, relevant images, or translating phrases.

In addition to the real-time co-authoring, Fluid framework having the ability to provide AI-based real-time translations into eight different languages. In the keynote demo, while typing into Word document, Azure Cognitive Services (AI routines) translates the text into eight different languages in sub milliseconds. The interesting thing is that the users are not only able to view the text into their own language, but they can also update it in their own language as well.

Above: Microsoft's Fluid Framework.
Image credit: Microsoft

To build apps and services using Fluid Framework, developers will have to get an early private preview. On the other hand, users with a work or school account can try out the experience at public preview. Currently, Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on the preview that will be available to Microsoft 365 customers in the next few weeks.

Posted by Advaiya

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