Gobe Productive is a well known and the most important third party application in the BeOS world. It is a powerful Office Suite. Gobe (the same developers who wrote ClarisWorks for Macintosh in the past – now called AppleWorks) is now looking for a larger market than BeOS has to offer, and version 3.0 of Productive will be first published for the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems. A Linux version is scheduled for development and release shortly after the Windows one. This is the world’s first preview of Gobe Productive 3 (GP3), with lots of screenshots and a good portion of information about the upcoming product (a public beta version should be released in the near future too).
Disclaimer: I don’t care if you don’t find my grammar/spelling appropriate. Honestly, that’s the best I can do. I bet you don’t speak Greek at all. 😉
The whole beta package comes in a (just) 7 MB .zip file (beta as of November 1st), but worry not, the final version will be distributed in a CD with lots of extras, like templates, inks, installation manager etc. Extracting this base beta package, only takes 18 MB of hard drive space, and it is all ready to use. When clicking the executable, a nice looking prompt window pops up asking you to choose your new base document (see picture).
Launching of the office suite is pretty fast, around 2 to 3 seconds in my machine which has a SCSI hard drive. Hacking around the files on the GP3 folder, we can find a file, called libbe.dll and in the Translators folder, we find libraries named like PNGTranslator.dll etc. I am sure that BeOS users and developers will recognise these names. Apparently, Gobe has ported a big chunk of the BeOS API over to Windows in order to properly port Productive 3. Not the whole BeOS API have been ported, but surely a big portion of it, the part that Productive is dependant on. Along with the API, services like the image and document translators have been ported as well. A note for non-BeOS users: Translators are system libraries that are reusable by other applications. For example, if you have an PNG Translator you can write an image viewer that will use this translator to read/write PNGs. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel by adding your own code for dealing with PNGs. Under BeOS, a lot of translators are installed by default, making the life of both the user and developer easier.
The application suite has been tested on a P-III 450 Mhz, 3Dfx Voodoo3, 512 MB of SDRAM and Windows98SE.
The Gobe word processor should be a familliar land for any Microsoft Word user, and if not, it is easy to learn and use.
On the View/Panels menu you can select which floating panels you would like to have visible at any time. Font, Styles, Ink, Transparency, Zoom and other windows can be floated on your screen, as the whole Productive environment is based on SDI. “Traditional” features found on other word processors, like Header & Footer, Grid, Rulers, styled bulleting and numbering are all to be found on Gobe’s Word Processor.
Some interesting features are the following: When you select a piece of text and by right clicking, you can copy the character’s or paragraph’s format. This way, if for example, you copied a piece of text that it was set to Arial, Size 12, Bold, Underlined, when you paste this format in another paragraph, page or document, you will be able to use this exact style. Similarly, with the use of the Style Panel, you can easily transform pieces of text into a pre-defined format. For example, by selecting some text and then click on the Styles/Link, the text will be underlined and it will behave as an HTML link. These Styles are editable, so you can easily save and restore/use your own prefered text style.
Productive also supports spell checking and it features a Thesaurus and Dictionary as well, always ready for use. I found them to be good and robust and the spell checker has the ability to learn new words too.
The Font panel is a bit different of what Windows users are used to, it does not offer a sample preview, but a live review. For example, instead of play with the font settings and then decide if you want to keep the changes or not, the changes are already made to the document automatically, upon any change on the font panel. This feature is of course impressive, but I found it to be not desirable at times. In fact, in cases where you are not sure which style you want to keep and you keep play with the font settings, you will lose the original style as you will need multiple undo’s to reach the original instead of just one or none.
I would also say that its Find/Replace panel needs a bit more work on adding some more advance features.
You can insert a number of objects in a word document, things like a chart, images (all the images that the Translators support), tables, vectors, hyperlinks and HTML. For example, you can copy/paste a web page directly from an IE window, and it will look like as it does in a browser, but your copy will be editable. It is a shame that this feature never worked for me though, resulting to an instant crash everytime I was copying/pasting something from a web page.
You can save a document as a .pve, the native Gobe file format, which includes in single file format, spreadsheet, word, image document elements etc. So, instead of having different file formats for presentations or spreadsheets, one file format covers all. You always have the freedom to export your documents to Microsoft Word, plain text, Rich Text Format, HTML and even PDF (yes, save as PDF 4 or 5 for free). The generated HTML has pretty good quality for a visual generator, but the problem is that its format is LF and it is not pleasantly visible by Notepad or other simple Windows text editor. The PDF export works fine, it loads under Acrobat Reader 5 fine as well, but on exit, my Acrobat Reader crashes (especially when the generated .pdf was saved with vector graphics in it). You can also save your document by posting/uploading it on the web automatically with the use of Web Folders.
As for the Word .doc compatibility, it works well, as soon as the document is not bigger than ~1.5 MB and it does not have pictures in it. As you can see in the screenshot below, Productive is on the left, and Word on the right. The first Word document has forms, which do not show at all on Productive. The second .doc file includes a picture (the Ensoniq one), which does not render at all on Productive, but the rest of the text is intact. The third document (the Creative one), is 2.4 MB large, which refused to load under Productive. Word compatibility (which is very important, we like it or not) was not great under gobeProductive 2.x either, but it was also functional.
I do not have great experience with spreadsheets unfortunately, and without a help/manual from GP3, I can’t say that I mastered this part of the Office suite. I wrote a Sum formula as shown in the screenshot and used its chart system. The spreadsheet does perfectly at least the basics of what someone would expect it to do. You can add formulas or use the built-in ones, change the colors of the cells and the charts, merge cells, choose between lots of types of charts etc. I am sure this feature list can describe it much better than I can regarding the spreadsheet part. You can save your work as a .pve, .csv, Microsoft Excel 95 or 97, Sylk, semicolon-delimeted text and tab-delimeted text. The spreadsheet seems to be really powerful (however it is also the most crash prone part of GP3), it has loads of little features that can be found in the menu and it integrates so well even inside a text .pve document.
The Graphics part of GP3 is based on vector objects and shapes put together. I found this part to be extremely easy to use and fun to play with. GP3 is not of course, a extremely powerful/advanced vector package, but it is enough for the day to day usage that a non-artist would need to use. There are plenty of shapes to choose from (however, flow charting shapes I found to be missing and I think that Gobe could strike a winner there if they add such shapes to their application), a line tool, reshape, bezier, freehand and polygon tools. I found the reshape tool very cool and fast. Too bad that you cannot save your own shapes and store them in a library though (Editor’s note: Gobe’s Tom Hoke wrote in to tell us that such a feature already exists! Thanks Tom!), but at least copy/paste works well between Productive and vector-aware editors like PaintShopPro7. As you can see from the screenshot, a number of options are available when right clicking in a selected shape, options very familiar to people who have used Illustrator, FreeHand, CorelDraw or Xara. You can Group and UnGroup shapes, so they behave as a single shape, Smooth edges, you can Tranform them (reshape, rotate, scale), align them to front or back, select the transparency level and also use the powerful Alignment to snap shapes into Grid or among them, as seen in the screenshot.
No filters or special effects can be used with the Graphics package, but with the addition of some flow chart shapes, it is more than perfect for an office/home use.
GP3 supports the notion of picture frames. You create an object frame for your picture and then you insert it. This way, you can differientiate between the image that you want it to behave as a letter (by clicking on the Insert menu command), and the image you want it to behave as an object (by clicking on the Picture Frame icon on the Graphics panel).
Some of the problems I encountered:
BMP pictures larger than 700 kb will crash GP3 or they won’t load.
The “Image Size” context menu option does not work correctly. And when it does work, it does not do what you asked it to do (for example, there are cases it will crop your image instead of resize it).
The inserted “letter” image (glyph) does not support Text Flow/Wrap so it cannot flow nicely around your text. I believe this is a pretty important missing feature. The image object does support it though, so I hope that this feature will be added for the Glyphs too.
While you can add vector shapes to your image document, they do not integrate greatly with the rest of the image. For example, you can’t merge the two layers containing the raster and the vector part. Similarly, you can’t break a raster image into vector shapes.
The Image Processing application do come with some basic and important tools though, like lasso, freehand selection, magic wand (use SHIFT to have a play with these tools, they are pretty impressive), paint bucket, eraser, pencil (I still haven’t figured out where I can change pencil’s line width), airbrush, clone, and the color picker (which supports RGB, CMYK, HSV, HLS, LAB and System colors).
You can save your images, as .pve, PDF, bmp, gif, pat, jpg, png, Tiff and xpm (in short, depends what translators are available on the system).
There is not much to say about Presentation really, as it is a simple tool which utilizes the Graphics engine as discussed above, but introduces the notion of slides. A single slide is like a single page with vectors/images or text in it, put together to create a team of slides, the presentation. There is a nice slide control center as shown in the screenshot, where you can add new slides, remove them, move them up and down in their herierchy etc. From what I could gather so far (I have to say here that there was no documentation coming with this beta package), there is no way you can add video, sound or interactive content (for example, you can’t click in a button to go to a specific slide instead of the next one). The Presentation tool is simple, basic, but I believe it will be enough for most of us. For now. However, it is a shame that GP3 cannot read or write Microsoft PowerPoint files, as that could be a useful feature for people who would like to totally switch to GP3.
Gobe Productive 3 is a honest effort to bring a fast, modern and pretty powerful office suite to the Windows and Linux platforms. A BeOS version is not certain yet, but Gobe accepts pre-orders that can help BeOS users upgrade to GP3 for Windows for only $40 USD.
For BeOS and Linux this office suite is one of their killer applications that users should be proud of. For Windows users, it still has some features left to be desired when a ‘monster’ like OfficeXP is already out and about. The Word .doc file format has not yet been mastered, no powerpoint compatibility, poor lettering on Glyphs, no sound or video. OfficeXP may be more feature complete in general, but Gobe has some great points too: The ability to save as a .pdf file, a uniform file format, lots of speed in most operations, live previews from the image plugins, small package overall (ideal for laptops and older machines), great price and more.
The application is still crash prone, but this is due to be still a beta. It is scheduled to be released before the end of 2001. gobeProductive for Windows and Linux will have a Suggested Retail Price of $124.95 and will include a “Gobe Family License” so you may install on all computers in your home plus one installation where you work, which makes the product an even better buy overall.
Update: Dave Johnson from Gobe emailed us about the pricing policy:
“GP will be $124.95, with the “Gobe Family License” which allows you to install on every computer in your home plus one installation where you work. Both Windows and Linux are in the box. Until the Linux version ships we will include a coupon in the box that the customer can send to us if they are going to want the Linux version.
There will also be academic, enterprise, government, OEM and volume pricing options available.”
I’m sure it’s a good piece of software (or will be after release , but that windows look… it’s really ugly. I saw BeOS screenshots and it was beautiful. I have GobeProductive 2 for BeOS and i want ver. 3 for BeOS too, not for windows
Es una pena que no tengamos una version para BeOS, la version 2 es una delicia. Ojala lo reconsideren
I have Gobe Productive 2 for BeOS (with any applicable patches installed). As someone who has used every major productivity suite (except Lotus + Ami Pro), I can say with confidence that Productive should find a comfortable home among Windows users at home that do not need anything complex. My grandmother has Productive on her BeOS system and it’s all she needs. My dad used Productive until I gave him my old iMac with Office 98. This is where Productive will do the best.
For heavy duty commercial use, I still think Office 97/2000 is the way to go. There are many features in Excel, specifically, that my company uses on a daily basis that do not exist (yet?) in Productive’s spreadsheet. The word processors are close in featurefullness, however, Word wins out by a hair for commercial use.
I wish Gobe luck in their Linux version, but given the quality of KOffice and Abiword/Gnumeric, I doubt most Linux users would get much more out of Productive. Gnumeric is the next best thing to Excel, IMO. It does all I can do in Excel, except for a few functions (which have probably been added since I last used it).
Eugenia, I agree wholehartedly about that flow chart thing. But that would be a new part, just as tables. I you do it, don’t imitate Visio. It’s a pain in the ass. Better do something like Flowcharter from Micrografx, much more intuitive. I’m writing my master thesis right now and I need to make a lot of little flowcharts. Now I’m keep going back between two apps, that have basic (select copy) gui differences. With an integrated tool I would be well err more productive.
You forget one important part in the review: the fact that Gobe is just a darn good company. When you send an email about anything, you /will/ get a reply. It actually listens to you, the customer, and will do everything to put the features the way you want in the product. I think that’s also a very good point against giants as XP.
yasou e kalenixta (how’s that for my Greek, Eugenia ;-). I bet you don’t speak Dutch.
I saw in one of the screenshots a checkbox for “Check spelling as you type.” Eugenia, would it be possible to say a few words about how well this works (or even maybe a screenshot). The lack of that was my biggest complaint with GP2.0 and, quite frankly, as good as the program is in many ways, I think that feature alone could cost the product a lot of sales if it’s missing or poor. I couldn’t care less about live grammar-checking, since that technology is currently too buggy to be very useful, but when it comes to spelling, it makes so much sense. Being able to see a typo instantly and right-click for suggestions right there is really how spell-checking should be done; not at the end when you have to remember the context for the word you meant and all that.
Oh, and one other question. I run at a pretty high resolution, but I like big fonts, so when I write a paper I usually zoom in at like 165%. GP2.0 for BeOS would sometimes overdraw slightly (either horizontally or one extra pixel-wide line on the bottom of the text), and even Word XP has a few minor problems in this area (specifically, when you scroll using the bar, the text will be shown as slightly too wide. When you start typing on that line again, the text is corrected, which is kind of annoying). How well does GP3 handle this? Essentially, I’m looking for absolutely no graphical glitches whatsoever.
Beyond that, thanks for the great preview!
Thanks for the preview Eugenia, a thanks to Gobe to help develop BeOS to the extent it has been.
I’d like to hear about who are the main competitors of Gobe under the Windows Platform, I’m not talking about MSOffice but about relatively small, cheap and lightweight Office suites that just get the job done. IMHO the future of Gobe depends on whether they can get a good share of that market instead of going after the big guys, since the corporate world isn’t going to change their Office suite that quickly.
If the Office import module is flaky isn’t it possible to “borrow” it from StarOffice?
On another topic the Gobe License is a brilliant move on their part, I hope it suceeds.
for the first question about spell checking, it seems to work fine. Check <A HREF=”img/gp1test.png”>screenshot here when I enabled the live check spelling.
For the font thing, it works find too. I did not experienced any glitches. <A HREF=”img/gp2test.png”>Screenshot here at 164%.
Nice review! I have one question though. Is the $125 for both the Windows and Linux version, or is it just for one of them?
Btw, I did not find anything wrong with your spelling or grammer…
As I recall they give the Windows buyer a coupon to purchase the linux version for free. IIRC they will eventually ship both together in the same box for the same price.
>I’d like to hear about who are the main competitors of Gobe under the Windows Platform, I’m not talking about MSOffice but about relatively small, cheap and lightweight Office suites that just get the job done.
Without counting Microsoft Works and OfficeXP:
http://www.hancom.com/en/“>Hancom , Lin/Win
http://www.ability.com/“>Ability , Win
<A HREF=”http://www.software602.com/products/pcs/“>PCS602, (free) Win
http://www.sun.com/staroffice/“>Star/Open , Lin/Win
http://www.wordperfect.com/“>Word , Lin/Win
http://www.visorcentral.com/content/Stories/1194-1.htm“>Iambic , Win
http://www.vistasource.com/products/axware/“>ApplixWare , Lin/Win
<A HREF=”http://koffice.kde.org“>KOffice, Lin
http://www.gnome.org“>Gnome , Lin
Thanks Eugenia, that’s exactly what I wanted to see. The spell-checker looks fine, and the fonts look good (although the problem only really crept up when scrolling by dragging the thumb on the scroll bar).
If they can get those Word importation issues dealt with, they might have a nice little hit for school kids and whatnot who probably can’t afford (nor really deal with the complexities of) Word and whatnot. Thanks again!
Good news everyone! (as the proffesor says in Futurama
Please read the article, at the end of the page. I have updated the article with some pricing information that Gobe just sent me in!
I would say that the office suite from Ability (http://www.ability.com/), a UK
operation, is the closest in spirit to Productive that I have run across. It
1.) Word Processor
2.) Spread Sheet
3.) Database (supposedly quite good, competitive with Access)
4.) Fairly sophisticated photoeditor, with layers, masks, filters, selection tools such as lasso and magic wand, etc. I am not sure about plugins … I don’t
The cost is $69.95 for the whole suite. Download size is approximately 13 MB.
Next iteration should come out soon, judging by its name: “Ability Office 2002”.
Ability is also making noises about entering the Linux world.
It is probably not quite as slim as Gobe, what with the applications being
distinct and having on net somewhat more functionality (DB + better editor,
no presentation), but certainly qualifies as a lightweight Office alternative.
Productive sounds like a great entry-level package, a la ClarisWorks and the
older versions of AppleWorks. The capacity to export to PDF, assuming the bugs
mentioned in the review are worked out, is definitely cool.
The average Linux user will probably stick with AbiWord, Gnumeric, dia, etc. But
when Linux is ready for use by the the hypothetical “grandmother” then Gobe
might be the package of choice. I would love to see the Gobe folks pull a win
out of the BeOS fiasco.
Is that what I think it is (libbe.dll)? Time to outfit my kninja uniform and raid the Gobe office (Mission Impossible theme)… Anyone got blueprints of their office?
Nice review, Eugenia. Can you do me a little flavor? I saw on one of the screenshot that there is a formula icon which I guess it is an equation editor. Is it possible for you to give a mini review or a few screenshot on how this work? Also, is it possible for you to insert a few pictures into a document and see whether GP3 will mess up the layout? I had been using GP2 and Ms office from 95-2000 for a few years, office alway like to put pictures at the very top or the very bottom of a page and refuse me to put it at the right point. GP2 on BeOS sometime did mess up the position but atleast it is easy to move it to the right point. I will be very interested to get GP3 if it have an equation editor and does screw up my document. Thanks for the nice review again.
>Nice review, Eugenia.
http://www.osnews.com/img/gp3test.png“>Is what you are looking for to see? Is that icon on the left as I show with the arrow the one you are talking about? From what I can see, you can edit the equation of a cell, but if you are talking about the Functions panel, as shown in the screenshot, first you to paste them in the sheet and then change them manually. It works well, and there are LOTS of built-in functions.
As for the image/text screwing up, you have to insert your images inside a picture frame, then right click on the image, select the “Text Wrap” option and then select the kind of text wrap you want as seen in http://www.osnews.com/img/gp4test.png“>this . Works well here.
One big thing missing is an email/PIM tool.
No way you can replace M$ Office without having such a tool.
Email is the one thing just about everyone uses every day.
Having a good email/PIM tool can make up for features missing in the other tools.
Just my 0.02c
I never understood why people think email/PIM should be part of an office suite.
I mean, sure it’s part of the work you do in an office, but these days so is a web browser, and I don’t think that should be part of “office”
I (under protest) use Office2k + Outlook at work, and I can’t say that I gain any benefits from using the same “suite” for mail and wordpro/spreadsheets.
For my uses, outlook doesn’t need to know anything about word or excel.
There’s plenty of good email clients out there for windows, perhaps Gobe should strike a deal with one of them for bundling, but I’m not sure why you would need GP to include a mail client.
Regarding GP, unless/until it supports some sort of scripting/macros (Python please!) then it’s going to sturggle to meet my needs I’m afraid. I am the VBA king in my office
I’m curious about the scripting, too. Gobe was making noises about adding some level of programmability before 2.0 was released, but the documentation on that never came out.
I can use a mail client for mail, thanks.
As for “spellcheck as you type” being integral, that depends on preferences, I suppose. When I’ve talked to professional writers in the past about software and features they use, not only have none of them mentioned that, many of them explicitly singled it out as being annoying. And, back when I was on the Nota Bene mailing list, its ability to do batch spell checking–to check a file or group of files without ANY pause for user interaction and spit out a file of questionable words that you could review, delete obviously correct words, and THEN have it go back through the files and show you the remaining questionable ones in context–was cited more than once as a great feature. (And I haven’t seen a single ‘after the fact’ spelling checker, even going back to my CP/M and TRS-80 days, that didn’t show you the questionable words in context.)
Eugenia, thanks for the reply, that is really quick. The equation editor I was asking about is a tool that allow you to write a mathematics equation for scientific papers and presentation. I was asking you because I saw there is a formula item in the insert manu bar on the third screenshot, I am not sure whether it is an equation editor or not, but it looks like it is, so I am quite exciting seeing that.
As for the messing up picture and document layout problem, I also try to put my picture in MS word in a textbox first, but the funny thing is word always like to set the position of the picture at some negative number or a large positive number so it always stay at the very top or the very bottom of a page, this problem had force me to break up my document into several small parts. It is very annoying cause everytime you change the font size, paragraph layout, the same problem occurs over and over again. This problem and a lot others have always irritate me enough to punch my computer when I was using word, so I will really interest in buying GP3 if it can support equation editing and doesnt have those problem.
PS. The thing that I was most angry about word is that I had been using word since 6.0 and not only that MS never fix these problems, they actually make it worse and worse.
Will gobe licence it’s libbe.dll to other BeOS developers ?
Thanks for the great review.
> I bet you don’t speak Greek at all. 😉
I can, only “Yes”, “No”, “I love you”(a very useful phrase, if JBQ is reading, I recomend he learn it) , and “W*nker” 😉
Does it support OLE, i.e. can I stick in a Excel/photoshop/any other MS Windows document?
You mention Linux support, do you know if they intend on suporting any other plateforms?
Is there an SDK for the translators aviable?
Good to see tables working (approximately) in this version of the word translator. This was my biggest problem with version 2 since the only doc files I need to read are either tech docs or rule books, both of which use tables extensively. I am not so bothered about the lack of image imports but it would be nice to have that fixed.
I am soooooooo mixed. I loved Productive under BeOS, and my one major complaint was that the doc translation was only at about 90%….but StarOffice 6 beta is just so incredibly gorgeous, translation is about 99.9% accurate, and it’s FREE. How can Productive compete with that? I wish Gobe luck, but they’ve got some stiff competition ahead.
I’m a big fan of Productive, especially since it was created basically by the same team that produced ClarisWorks – one of the most intelligently designed office suites ever. And I should know, I used to work phone support for Claris
The only thing that concerns me is the price. I took advantage of the great upgrade deal for BeOS users, but the std list price of over $100 seems excessive from a consumer’s viewpoint. But that’s a marketing issue that certainly doesn’t reflect on the quality of the product itself.
“As for spellcheck as you type being integral, that depends on preferences, I suppose.”
I definitely know some people who don’t like it, but I know a lot of people who do (and believe it to be integral). Furthermore, it’s a feature that is easily disabled, thus pleasing both crowds. As for context, yes, every “after the fact” spellchecker will scroll to the correct position and whatnot, but the point is that it’s still after the fact, and you might have to remember what exactly you meant to write and whatnot.
I’ll agree 100% that it’s a personal preference, but since a lot of people do seem to prefer it, it’s one of those things that you just can’t leave out in a modern word processor.
I liked Productive when I was running Be as my primary OS. Franlky, it was a one horse race, but it was coming along.
Productive is a second-tier product. This isn’t meant as a dig. Simply, Productive is not a “feature” packed office suite (read: bloated to bursting with loads of questionable features). Top tier would include MS Office, Lotus SmartSuite, WordPerfect Suite, ApplixWare, Star Office. In short, anything that has a HD requirement in the triple digit range.
Productive has some stiff competition. Apple Works (formally Claris) is cross platform (Win/Mac), and has the widest base of file import/translation capability of ANY office package, first or second tier. The downside is, Apple Works is beginning to suffer from bloat, as they try to compete head to head with first-tier product. Bad idea, and hopefully Apple will figure that out. However, it can be had for less than US$100.
MS Works is lacking in the database department, but otherwise is a good “Grandma” package. It can be had for less than US$100.
I recently grabbed the trial download for Ability. Productive has something to worry about. Ability is worth the US$70 for the “Access” like database, and the Photoshop/Deluxe/Gimp clone alone. Ability has struck the perfect balance between size (less than 30M with filters & spellcheck). They didn’t waste their time with a “Powerpoint” clone at the expense of the database, like most due. Ability is lacking in the word processing import filters department, but they have covered the major players (Corel, Lotus, MS – Word AND Works). More important, you can import PDFs. I’m actually looking at Ability as a replacement for Lotus SmartSuite.
ERROR IN MY LAST POST: No, you cannot import PDFs. I meant to type HTML documents.
Not that PDF editing would be a bad thing…
“Es una pena que no tengamos una version para BeOS, la version 2 es una delicia. Ojala lo reconsideren”
In English, this means: What a shame that they don’t have a version for BeOS. Version 2 was really nice. I hope they reconsider.
Ive been using Productive since 1.0 on BeOS, and Im really looking forward to this version. Quite frankly, I find all of the extra “features” of things like Office and WordPerfect damn annoying. I like my apps to be lean, mean, stable and quick. Thats why I like Opera, thats why I like Productive. This dosent mean that either of them are missing any core features, it just means they aren’t bloated. It seems to me that in most software houses, for every 1 usefull feature, 99 bits of useless, slow, unstable junk are thrown in. Huzzah for Gobe being different.
“It seems to me that in most software houses, for every 1 usefull feature, 99 bits of useless, slow, unstable junk are thrown in”
I’ll agree that most people only use roughly 10% or so of Word’s features. The only problem is, of course, that some of those 10% are very useful and that competing programs often lack them. I, too, like GP2 for BeOS, but it most certainly is missing a number of features that I either desire or require.
In English, this means: What a shame that they don’t have a version for BeOS. Version 2 was really nice. I hope they reconsider.
If BeOS were being updated, it would make sense. But as it stands now, it has no future (that I can see), precious little scanner and printer support, and dwindling hardware support, and a very uncertain future, if that. Can’t blame them.
I have been anxiously awaiting GP3 to work on version 2.0 of my “CD Templates for Gobe Productive”. I tried converting them to Excel 2000, but a few of the pages were actually spreadhseets imbedded in documents, so they wouldn’t convert. The only thing thaa worries me are the many crashes that were mentioned. I have no doubt they will be fixed by the final release date, though.
I presume version 3 wont be able to open v2 docs so can you save as version 2 to allow some interchange between Windows/BeOS versions on dual boot machines?
No idea about that. I don’t have Productive 2 in this machine (my BeOS partition is on my other PC, locked at a public storage place), so I can’t check it out for you. You may want to email Gobe and ask them about that though.
Thanks for such a great review (as usual) – this is the first in-depth information I’ve seen on Productive 3.
It does look like StarOffice has reached the point where it will sway even die-hard Office users – StarOffice 6 is impressive, IMHO, though I (and many others on Sun’s newsgroups) are griping about the “abandonment” of Email & Scheduler (especially Scheduler). It’s true that some parts of it, like the browser, were so unremarkable that they were easily dispensed with, but it’s ironic that some even lament the loss of the much hated Desktop – it’s the “integration” that made it a better office suite for these people.
Gobe productive looks like it has that “integration”, but it doesn’t look like it has anywhere near the depth of features of the “top tier” office suites. Of course, it’s admirable to have it in such a small package, and have such quick startups, but I don’t think many people think 200MB is too much anymore and most people now have PC’s fast enough to make big applications tolerable.
Anyway, does anyone know if Gobe will be able to benefit from OpenOffice’s translators?
I recall that several months ago, a poll of GoBe Productive users (and potential users) appeared on one of the Be related sites…(Anyone remember? Wasn’t it BeGroovy?? Don’t quite recall).
Anyway, among the most desired features for the word processor was PDF export, and it’s cool to see that P3 will have that. I really missed PDF export on the Be 5.0/Productive 2.0 platform. As for spell-as-you go and the underlining of spelling errors: these features are perhaps annoying at first, but they can always be disabled–and they do grow on you. They’re a crutch I’m happy to lean on! Sure, there’s plenty of bloat in the major office suites, but those spelling features aren’t “bloat” for most users. They really are time-savers.
Intersting to read the postings here that mention potential competition for P3. I’m vaguely familiar with Ability. There’s also a free program from Software 602 that, truth be told, has a very, very good word processor and some usuable (though not muscle-bound or bloated–choose your term) spreadsheet and photo editing features.
The edge that P3 might have is that its applications really are fully integrated–everyone who uses p2 knows what I mean. The integration is so tight and natural that it’s easy to overlook, actually–it doesn’t jump up and own and fight for your attention like all those features in bloatware. Quite the reverse, actually: only when you work with OTHER suites can you sometimes fully appreciate the thorough application integration of Productive.
I have used a fair few of the potential opposition that GP3 is coming up against, Star Office (v5), Word Perfect Suite 7&8, MS Office (V4 – 2000), PCS602, Claris Works (is it still going?), MS Works 1-’98, and some others lost in the recesses of my mind. I found the best of which to be MS Office 95 pro, closely followed by WordPerfect Suite 8. But since buying GP2.01 I don’t want to use any other office package, it’s by far my favourite (and more so if I could figure out how to extend the width of spreadsheets past colunm T). Hence I’ll probably fork out the $40 upgrade for the added ability of being to print over my network (without walking my laptop downstairs to my Epson Stylus), and finally be able to print from Productive to my laser printer. Although had BONE/BeOS6 been released that wouldn’t be an issue. Another bonus is my mum can stop complaining that I can make these beautiful looking documents with ease and she gets boring crap from Word98
ps: roll on the public beta