Office Web Apps Server vs DMS WebDAV technology

Exchange server 2013 has become the google concurrent and other DMS (Alfresco, Nuxeo, kimios…) in the market.
It provides the firm integration of all Office 2013 servers family  i.e. SharePoint 213, Lync 2013, Office Web Apps, Exchange 2013. Initially there had to be hooks between them to be connected to each other, but now they are integrated such that there is no more need of having multiple front-end servers.

Now, since our topic is on integration with Office Web Apps server, let’s focus on what advantages and benefits one can have from that. With OWA Server being in the picture, users are provided with smooth, easy to use and commendable document viewing functionality. Initially, Microsoft was dependent on Oracle, a 3rd component, for  functionality of attachment viewing.


OWA Server allow the users to preview the attachments in their email messages. Not only this users can also modify the attached documents online in a matter of few clicks.

OWA Server supports file types given below:

  1. Word documents (doc, docx, dot,x dot, dotm extensions)
  2. Excel documents (xls, xlsx, xlsb, xlm, xlsm extensions)
  3. PowerPoint documents (ppt, pptx, pps, ppsx, ppsm , pot, potx, potm, pptm extensions)

How OWA 2013 works? Previously in Exchange 2010, the preview of the attachment were shown with the help of web-ready document viewing technology. Now, in Exchange 2013 with Office Web Apps Server integrated, whenever end user click to preview the attachment, Exchange hands over the job to the master of document viewing i.e. makes a WOPI call to OWA Server which then provides user with a richer preview experience. All the data transferred between Exchange and OWA Server is protected using SSL.

As far as deployment and the management of the Office Web Apps Server is concerned, it is relatively very simple. Mainly because OWA Server contains the ability to play the role of either the front end or back end. It can be used only for Word or Excel or PowerPoint if used as a back end role. As a default, it work as a multi-role server. In case one wants to use it a specific, the settings can be changed, otherwise it is recommended to use it as a multi role server.

At the end, let’s look quickly through the advantages and disadvantages of Office Web Apps integration with Exchange 2013

Advantages Disadvantages
Allow users to edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files Software must be installed on different separate computer
No additional software is needed on the clients Must be available from the internet if you want to offer the same services as on your local network. (for Lync 2013 this is required)
Server is not used by Exchange 2013 alone but SharePoint 2013 and Lync 2013 can also use it at the same time One server is not enough for an HA environment. Two or more than 2 must be used

See Also WebDAV

Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that facilitates collaboration between users in editing and managing documents and files stored on World Wide Web servers. A working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) defined WebDAV in RFC 4918.

The WebDAV protocol makes the Web a readable and writable medium.[1] It provides a framework for users to create, change and move documents on a server; typically a web server or web share. The most important features of the WebDAV protocol include the maintenance of properties about an author or modification date, namespace management, collections, and overwrite protection. Maintenance of properties includes such things as the creation, removal, and querying of file information. Namespace management deals with the ability to copy and move web pages within a server’s namespace. Collections deal with the creation, removal, and listing of various resources. Lastly, overwrite protection handles aspects related to locking of files.


Since 20 years I work on Database Architecture and data migration protocols. I am also a consultant in Web content management solutions. I am an experienced web-developer with over 10 years developing PHP/MySQL, C#, VB.Net applications ranging from simple web sites to extensive web-based business applications. When not writing code, I like to dance salsa and swing and have fun with my little family.

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