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Microsoft details app-centric sharing in SkyDrive, makes it easier to share

In a two-part series, Microsoft discusses and details app-centric sharing in SkyDrive. SkyDrive, in essence, lets you store and share your files while having a rich experience for important file types such as Office documents and photos.

For those who are not familiar with SkyDrive, the service is Microsoft’s free online file storage service (25GB of free storage space), that makes it easier to share and manage your files online (or in the cloud as its now said).

Designing app-centric sharing for SkyDrive, part 1 of 2: Complexity of “simple”

Microsoft wanted to stick to several fundamental aspects of sharing in SkyDrive. First, sharing files shouldn’t depend on how they’re organized. Microsoft also wanted to create a better means of sharing, rather than the traditional “just add it as an email attachment” method. Microsoft also came to realize that normal people don’t understand how to use the ACL (Access Control List) model, so a less-complex method needs to come into play. Microsoft also realized that people share files with those outside the Windows Live network. In the past, when you shared a folder with another person using a specific email address, the recipient had to sign in to Windows Live using the matching email address or they couldn’t access the document. And finally, Microsoft has realized that SkyDrive needs a more resilient and transparent sharing notification system, such as email.

Designing app-centric sharing for SkyDrive, part 2 of 2: Rebuilding permissions

“One of the biggest changes we made to the recent SkyDrive release was how we deal with permissions on files and folders. Making these underlying changes to our service without impacting customers is a bit like replacing the engines on an airplane while it’s flying. The technical challenges were tremendous, but the end result is a system that allows far more flexibility in how you share your files and photos,” Microsoft stated. Microsoft has worked on improving SkyDrive to have support for storing, editing, and finding Office documents. In other words, Microsoft realized that it needs to be as easy as pointing to any file, anywhere, and share it without having to move it.

We recommend reading both posts from Microsoft as they detail quite a bit of information on SkyDrive’s new sharing features.

Microsoft updated its SkyDrive service to not only allow for sharing and accessing of Office documents, but also making it easier to share individual files via email or on social networks, while using file management capabilities, as well as HTML5 enhancements to the service.

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