But note there is no graphical management interface for OWAS -- it's all done through PowerShell. Fortunately, not too many cmdlets are involved. To see a list of them, type
Get-Command *office*; they're mostly
Set cmdlets with
OfficeWebAppsHost as the noun portion of the cmdlet.
The most effort in configuring OWAS involves creating and configurating the farm. For a production environment, you need to get an appropriate SSL certificate from a third-party certificate authority, but for testing purposes you're welcome to try using an HTTP connection rather than an HTTPS connection.
To create the farm, use the
New-OfficeWebAppsFarm -InternalURL https://farmdomain -ExternalURL https://farmdomain -CertificateName friendlycertname -EditingEnabled.
To test if your server is working properly, try to open a discovery URL by entering
https://farmdomain/hosting/discovery. If your farm domain is owas.companydomain.com, the URL would be https://owas.companydomain.com/hosting/discovery.
Now that the OWAS server is ready, you need to configure each Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync server to work with it. Each server has its own configuration method. For Exchange, use the
Set-OrganizationConfig cmdlet with
-WACDiscoveryEndpoint and indicate the full path to the discovery point (such as https://owas.companydomain.com/hosting/discovery).
At that point, barring any difficulties, check your WebReady settings for your Exchange 2013 virtual directory and/or OWA policy to ensure you have it enabled. Send a test email with an attachment to a test user and ask that person to connect to email via OWA. In the email message should be the Preview option next to the attachment; ask the person to open that attachment to verify everything works properly.
I didn't have a chance to work with OWAS in SharePoint or Lync, but my TrainSignal colleague Bill Kulterman got it working pretty handily. He says he was "thrilled at how easy it was." It took him about 10 minutes, following the instructions on TechNet.
One thing to keep in mind is that by default SharePoint uses HTTPS to communicate with the OWA server. Kulterman didn't use SSL in his testing, so he had to make sure that he allowed SharePoint to communicate via HTTP. Doing so is a simple matter of using the
AllowHTTP PowerShell cmdlet when creating the SPWOPIBindings and changing the SPWOIZone to internal-http.
If you plan on using Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013, or Lync 2013 and you want Office and PDF attachments to render via the browser, you must use an OWAS server. Although it's a bit more work, it's not that hard -- and you get better document fidelity plus editing capabilities in SharePoint for your troubles.
This story, "Welcome to Microsoft Webmail's new doc preview," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blogand follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.