Opening / Saving Documents Directly from / to Server in a SharePoint-like Manner

The Ajax Browser can open documents directly from the server without additional download / upload steps. After editing the document, you can save it directly back to the server in a SharePoint-like manner.

To open documents from the server, the Ajax Browser is using two different approaches depending on the file type:

  1. Microsoft Office custom protocols. If the file is Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint or any other MS Office document the Ajax File Browser will try to use Microsoft Office protocols first. The Microsoft Office protocols are installed by Microsoft Office 2010 SP2 and later by default during Microsoft Office installation. This approach is available on Windows and OS X only. If opening with protocols failed the davX: protocol is used.
  2. IT Hit custom protocol (davX:). In the case of a non-Microsoft Office document, the WebDAV Ajax Library is using custom davX: protocol. This approach is available on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

Requirements for Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office contains its own WebDAV client module that has additional requirements and limitations. To successfully open/save Microsoft Office documents the following conditions must be met:

  • Your WebDAV server must support Class 2. Microsoft Office locks documents when creating and opening files for editing. If Microsoft Office is unable to lock the document it will be opened as read-only. 
  • Your WebDAV server must be located on the site root (for example http://server/) in case of Microsoft Office 2007 and earlier. Microsoft Office 2007 submits configuration requests to the site root and requires the server to respond properly. If your WebDAV server is non-root (for example http://server/dav/) it opens documents as read-only. This issue is fixed in MS Office 2010 and later versions.

You can find more about Microsoft Office read-only issue here.

Microsoft Office Authentication

Important! Microsoft Office on Windows and OS X as well as Windows Shell (Web Folders / mini-redirector), requires secure SSL connection when used with Basic authentication. Microsoft Office will fail to open a document via insecure connection with Basic authentication. For a workaround please see the following articles. In case of MS Office Windows: You cannot open Office file types directly from a server that only supports Basic Authentication over a non-SSL connection with Office applications. In case of MS Office on OS X: You cannot open Office for Mac files directly from a server that supports only Basic authentication over a non-SSL connection.

Microsoft Office applications always ask for the authentication when used with Basic and Digest authentication. If you check "Remember my password" checkbox it will still display the login dialog, but the username and password will be already filled in, so you just click "OK". If NTLM or Kerberos is used than MS Office asks for credentials only 1 time during first document access.

Microsoft Office Templates

In Ajax Browser, you can initiate the creation of Microsoft Office documents directly from the web interface. This feature is supported only if Microsoft Office 2013 or later version is installed on a client machine only.

To create a new document, Microsoft Office requires template files that are located in 'templates/' folder by default. To change the default location use SetMsOfficeTemplatesPath method:

ajaxFileBrowser.SetMsOfficeTemplatesPath('http://webdavserver.com/browser/templates/');

Important! You must specify the full path to templates folder including domain name and protocol.

Important! Microsoft Office will request an exclusive lock on a template file when creating a new document. This means your template files mast be located on a WebDAV server that supports Class 2 exclusive locks (not just in a static directory on a website).

Next: Opening Docs from a WebDAV Server with Cookies Authentication