Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Office Vista - a first look
Published on May 13, 2006 By Draginol In

The next major version of Microsoft Office, (Office 2007 but what I'll affectionately call "Office Vista") is the single biggest change to come to Microsoft Office since, well, as far back as I can remember.  The problem the Microsoft team was coming up against is that Office had gotten so complicated, so "bloated" and so complicated that most new feature requests made by users were for features already part of the package.

The new Office includes a new user interface across all the programs that make up the suite.  The title bar has been altered to have its own unique glass style with buttons that make use of the most common features of the application.  The menu bar has been largely jettisoned and replaced by what are being called "Ribbons". Until I saw the most recent version of the beta, I was skeptical as to whether this was going to work out.  But having seen it in action, I am converted. It really is slick.  Gone are the "we know what you want" type UI behaviors and in its place are interfaces that streamline the entire experience.

The ribbons allow users to do the kinds of things that most people want to do with as little work as they need.  Power users in particular can be happy that there are tons of options that can greatly speed up common tasks.

The next version of Office will run both Windows Vista and Windows XP.  On Windows XP, it looks a bit different (and in my opinion) quite fantastic.

As the above screenshot implies, blog posting (source: Microsoft's Joe Friend - not under NDA) is one of the features of Microsoft Word.  While not good news necessarily to the third party programs that allow people to compose blog posts, it is good news to most users.  When  a user decides to create a blog with Microsoft Word, it takes care of the uploading of images and everything else to make the entire thing relatively painless.

And don't worry about what you upload being a bunch of whacky HTML, the Office team is working to ensure that what gets uploaded is the cleanest possible HTML.

The release date for Microsoft Office 2007 has not been announced officially. But beta 2 is due "soon".  I don't know about you but I'm very excited.  For years, Microsoft has kind of sat on its laurels with Office, adding bloat and complexity to it.  Now, Microsoft seems very serious about going back and reinventing the world's most popular suite of office applications.


Comments (Page 2)
on May 15, 2006

Here are the current estimates on pricing for those interested http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/pricing.mspx

These are the same as Office 2003 (and Office XP before it).

As always, MS allows the user to install Office on one computer (with multiple user accounts), and one computer where the owner is the primary user (a notebook, for example).

The latter holds true for many MS software products, with the obvious exception of an OS.

Seems in line with Adobe, Corel, etc. - as far as allowing users to install the software on two computers (with the second being restricted to one user).

on May 18, 2006
mmm guys but on these screenshots it's the office's skin or its a windows skin?
on May 24, 2006
Can't believe their isn't mention of Office 2007 beta 2 being on public (free download) release!!!
on May 24, 2006
File size doesn't matter anymore for office documents, with the price of HD space so low. Seriously, MPG, AVI, HD files, etc. take tons of drive space. Excel and word docs...bah. We can already get the exact same space savings by just setting the documents directory to be compressed in XP. Similar compression ratio, faster decompression, so archive file format management required...zero learning curve.


The problem isn't disk space, it's the bandwidth required to pass large documents around your company/clients. Also, the fact that they're ZIP files is completely hidden from you so there's no learning curve.
on May 24, 2006
How the heck to you change the skin? I'm running beta 2 on XP SP2. Everything I've found says there's also a black skin...but I've been through every menu and help. Any help would be grealy appreciated.
on May 24, 2006
Orion, hit the office menu (word, PP, Excel or in an outlook message, and select options
on May 25, 2006
There are a lot of impressive things about it, but performance is not one of them so far. I've got an almost three-year-old laptop with a 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 M and 1 GB of RAM. Most of the applications, PowerPoint especially, are dog slow with sometimes a 5 - 10 second delay between clicking to go to the next slide and it actually rendering the next slide in the slideshow. I don't know if it's that I have a 3-year-old graphics card with naught but 32 MB of graphics memory, or if it's just a side effect of beta-quality software. I'm sure that it will be quite snappy in the final version, but for those of you looking to try it out on hardware the age of mine, be prepared for a lot of lagging.
on May 25, 2006
Hell Cat:

Thank you...that did the trick.
on May 25, 2006
I have the new office and running XP and it is everything that it is said to be and more. The running is smooth and intuitive you must take the tutorials to be able to take full advantage of all there is to do with it. The mail notification sits in the tool bar and out look is truly a very advanced tool it should be. I am very pleased. It works really good with all the google desk top 4 also.
on May 26, 2006
"And don't worry about what you upload being a bunch of whacky HTML, the Office team is working to ensure that what gets uploaded is the cleanest possible HTML."

Hmph, I say. I like my WYSIWYG best. It is pure-DOM compatible with any DOM browser. Clipboard functionality is a nicety for some browsers. It the event of a completely non-compatible browser it falls back to a text box. But it's designed to work with anything supporting DOM level 1 and a bit of level 2. And the code is pristine. I've done a lot of work to make sure it is, for lack of a better word, perfect. Ex, say you have:
[p][em]Hello[/em], [em]World[/em][/p]
and you bold the space, it will immediately change to
[p][em]Hello[/em], [em]World[/em][/p]
Also, if you then choose to debold the word World:
[p][em]Hello[/em], [em]World[/em]
So whitespace is irrelevant to it (meaning no more annoying [p]Hello World[/p] which I've had to endure too many people doing).

The only flaw is that malformed HTML will be royally messed with, which is why an HTML editting mode is not provided by default.

The best part is that because it is rendering engine agnostic, I could write a program which is a shell for Gecko, KHTML, Trident, etc. and just swap engines while still having the exact same UI. Unfortunately, I'm in the process of re-writing the system, but the prototype (which was evolutionary in design) has been tested to work with Gecko and Trident. All components were compatible with KHTML except Clipboard [which was mimicked using a browser-internal clipboard, and I fully intend to write a clipboard:/ KIO slave to allow local access to the clipboard]. Seriously, everyone buy my program (when it comes out). Because I love coding stuff. Should, hopefully, be done my three major projects by the end of summer.

P.S. Gad, fix this awefull comment system that won't accept & g t ; or & l t ;
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