Home > Microsoft > Is Office Becoming More Like Windows? Is Office Becoming More Like Windows? Submitted by danjr 2004-12-20 Microsoft 19 Comments Microsoft Office is fast becoming a software platform unto itself. There are a growing number of programs being developed that run on top of Office, much the same way that Office and other programs run on Windows. About The Author David Adams Follow me on Twitter @david_adams 19 Comments 2004-12-20 5:33 pm This is far from a new thing. Applications built on Access backends for example have been around for donkey’s years. 2004-12-20 5:44 pm Afterall, it’s almost like some of us don’t share the same planet when it comes to technology. Office automation is a great thing. Many companies have built long-standing applications from excel and access without the need to draw up a budgeted project. 2004-12-20 5:57 pm What if the developers can be convinced to program for Base’s (the new OO.o database program) backend? That would really help OO.o push into the corporate market… 2004-12-20 6:08 pm Afterall, it’s almost like some of us don’t share the same planet when it comes to technology — dcop, dbus, bonobo, kparts, kde ecmascript etc all contribute towards automation… 2004-12-20 6:11 pm My first thought was in fact: ‘So, MS Office is becoming a Emacs clone.’ I’m not sure about how much more or less extendable OOo is compared to MS Office, as I don’t use office products very often. But if you want to see an (imho insane) example for extendability, have a look at some Emacs extensions: http://packages.gentoo.org/packages/?category=app-emacs Some examples: cdrw: Emacs dired frontend to various commandline CDROM burning tools chess: A chess client and library for Emacs erc: ERC – The Emacs IRC Client weather: Quickly grab a temperature from the net. For the case you don’t now: Emacs claims to be a text editor. 2004-12-20 7:03 pm With open source cutting into Microsoft’s revenues, the only way it can keep its product ahead is by adding more features into it. Otherwise, who is insane enough to want to spend money on something when another with almost similar features is available for free. Oo is improving fast but without other third part developers joining in, it would be a long time before it can claim to have more and better features then Microsoft Office. Having said that, if we consider the 80/20 rule (80% of the people only use 20% of the features of a program), Oo will certainly continue to gain its percentage share in the market, especially in home and small enterprise market. 2004-12-20 8:58 pm The future is web apps. Wake up and smell the coffee by trying egroupware. Egroupware.org Egroupware is just an example of where we are headed, which is cross-platform browser accessible apps for 85% of the needs of an enterprise. There will always be architects and graphic designers that need locally running apps, but the future is very clear for those that want to see it. 2004-12-20 9:09 pm Office has been a platform for years. Its nothing new and its nothing that just started. 2004-12-20 9:12 pm I’d love to, but I can’t get it to render in Firefox 1.0 on Mandrake 10.1 Official. Nothing. Blank. I don’t know if you’re in charge of the site, but you may want to check out the W3 Validator (http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.egro…) to see where the problems are. Perhaps you can pass on that information to the webmaster. 2004-12-20 9:18 pm Nonsense, I also run MDK 10.1 Official and the page displays fine in konqueror and firefox. If you are concerned about code correctedness, volunteer to do the work. The code is generated with the Jini web site manager. I am just a user of egroupare’s software. I am not formally involved in the project. 2004-12-20 9:59 pm Within most enterprises (medium-to-large) a “task-specific” OS is exactly what’s wanted by the IT department (non of that pesky platform lockdown to stop users installing their own s/w) and by the management (helps you control & streamline your processes). It’s one reason why the ERP platforms like SAP are popular. Thinking of Office (or OO.o) as a rich-client-platform & component-set into which vertical (typically a document-centrice vertical such as the legal-profession) specific apps can be developed makes a lot of sense. Outside of teh document-centric verticals Eclipse-RCP gives a fantastic framework for creating generic apps. It would be great to have access to a fully-supported “layered” Linux distro, which could act as the base onto which these vertical-specific RCPs could be grafted. In such a case you wouldn’t have any Konquerer etc. (perhaps not even a CLI), just an OS layer. When you boooted you would go straight into your RCP app ie. your *real* OS. I know someone will tell me that this already exists … 2004-12-20 10:37 pm I know someone will tell me that this already exists … — of course it does. http://www.specifixinc.com/ http://componentizedlinux.org/ 2004-12-20 10:41 pm I remember computing in the 90’s. People got their computers for three reasons: coding, word processing, and computer games (this was before web browsers, instand messaging, emailing, etc.). A good office suite was completely necessary for high school and college term papers, for writing resumes, cover letters, and letters to friends. The only real game in town was Microsoft, so people had to either pay the Microsoft tax or pirate the software. The vast majority of people chose to pirate it. But I could guarantee that 99.999% of everyone (even the nerds) had MS-Dos or Windows on their x86 computer and they all had Microsoft Word for Windows. I look at the landscape now, and it is completely changed. People can run Linux on their home system and use Firefox, Thunderbird, gaim, and openoffice.org. These tools all can get the job done for a home user and are all free. I still run Windows XP but my XP environment is Microsoft free in the application area. I don’t see any compelling reason to write apps, etc in my office suite at home. If I was to live my youth again, I don’t know what operating system I would use, but I know I wouldn’t be running Microsoft Office. 2004-12-21 12:45 am “this was before web browsers, instand messaging, emailing, etc.” The 90s was before email? That’s news to me! I’ve been emailing happily since 1992, and I know lots of people who’ve been doing it since before then. Web browsing wasn’t much later, 93-94 if memory serves. And ICQ’s been around since I think 96. 2004-12-21 1:46 am I agree this isnt anything new. I see office as a basic framework that software developers can use to create custom applications. Many of my past clients have relied upon this functionality since it became available in office 95. either way I think OO will start taking the world by storm in the next 2-5 years when this functionality becomes available in it too, assuming that there is an easy way to port existing macros/extensions to it from office, i dont see many corporates changing to a new system otherwise. 2004-12-21 1:52 am IMHO people with heavy investment won’t move to OO until it has some method of easily porting existing office “applications” over. Massive amounts of code has been written in VBA and it very useful for scripting office to do simply repetitive tasks. I think compatibility is too much to ask for, since the object model for OO and office are rather different, to say the least, so mayb something similar to JUMP to .net (microsoft’s tool for converting java to c#). Though that isn’t by any means perfect – it does aid the process. 2004-12-21 2:28 am Well, as others mentioned this isn’t new at all, and things for a long time have used excel for stuff. MS hasn’t done anything new to encourage this lately, it has nothing to do with linux or trying to keep market. But this is one of the reason companies keep churning along with Office. I really don’t get why so many are pondering about how to make companies move from Office to OOo . Companies would want to actually do this first before worrying about how to do it. MS office is a very good product. The cost of it is nothing when you compare to the cost of the time of the employee using it. So unless there is some amazing way to speed people up with something else and not have a learning curve, nothing will change there. Secondly, OOo and others still stand zero chance at going big time with companies for a simple reason. MS file formats. Now don’t bitch cause MS doesn’t open them up, sure we would all like to see open formats from them, but this is how it is. And as long as MS has not given the official “how to” for file compatibility, it doesn’t matter how close OO might get, it’s a no go. Companies will not risk such headaches. They live on sharing files, both externally and with other companies and customers. They are not going to go and rely on some group’s hack. Using OOo is fine for some home user, or dealling with files that only you ever deal with. But does not work in a business. 2004-12-21 5:24 pm “The 90s was before email? That’s news to me! I’ve been emailing happily since 1992, and I know lots of people who’ve been doing it since before then. Web browsing wasn’t much later, 93-94 if memory serves. And ICQ’s been around since I think 96.” Lol. I really meant the 80’s and early 90’s. I put 90’s because I didn’t want to make myself seem too old. . Anyways, the general point was that an office suite was one of the primary reasons to get a computer and Microsoft was the only game in town. Since then, people get it for word processing, web browsing, instant messaging, emailing and there are plenty good free open source alternatives out there. 2004-12-21 8:12 pm For those not familiar w/ OO.o, just a few points that nobody has mentioned in rebuttal: OO does have simple VBA support. You can’t pick an arbitrary library for Windows and use it under Linux, but a distrubing amount of Office scripting works under OO (and probably better under OO2). Also, as far as loading MS Office formats, I think OO (and OO2 is better) is more consistent than MS Office itself — particulaly if exchanging documents between the Mac and Windows versions (this recently came up with one of our VPs). OO surely cannot replace Office in an organization so entrenched in exploiting its inner workings, but for most organizations the leap simply isn’t that great. OO’s XML-based open file format file format, extensive use of stylesheets, etc. opens up endless possibilities. MS must have a clue about this since their products leave out OO/SO format support which would be trivial to incorporate (despite it having a significantly higher market share than some of the other formats). The principle drawbacks to the MS Office platform are not initial cost, but ongoing cost, poor cross-platform support (a need that is growing), security, openness, and liability (think BSA audits, lost records, outmoded data formats, etc.). Office’s biggest selling point is that it’s so widely used where it really isn’t appropriate with mediocre but good-enough results to prevent people from shopping around.