Entries:
Comments:
Posts:

Loading User Information from Channel 9

Something went wrong getting user information from Channel 9

Latest Achievement:

Loading User Information from MSDN

Something went wrong getting user information from MSDN

Visual Studio Achievements

Latest Achievement:

Loading Visual Studio Achievements

Something went wrong getting the Visual Studio Achievements

Office UI - New Licensing Story

Download

Right click “Save as…”

  • MP3 (Audio only)
  • WMV (WMV Video)
This is an interesting video for Channel 9.

As many geeks know, the Office team at Microsoft is the team that typically sets the standard for UIs throughout our company, and then the industry beyond. It's where the experimentation takes place. It's like the Area 51 of UI workshops.

In this video, we get to learn about new licensing rules surrounding the Office UI elements. In the past, developers were confused as to how far they could go when it came to using Office-like UIs in their apps. The goal of the new licensing is to clear that up.

We also chatted a bit about Office and the way they had to work to innovate. As applications become more complex, they're putting a real strain on the interface elements we're all used to. The team has been working hard to come up with new ways of working with these complex apps. The "Ribbon" control is one such innovation.

Finally, there's a lawyer in this video. If you've ever wanted to see an interview with a Microsoft lawyer, this is your chance Smiley

Fun stuff.

Tags:

Follow the Discussion

  • Jonathan MerriweatherCyonix Me
    If you really want to make this a standard like the menu bar & toolbar you should release an add-on to Visual Studio (perhaps sign licence agreement before download) that adds these controls.

    Please make it part of the standard set of controls Smiley
  • I can assure you that the Visual Studio team is thinking about how and when to do this...but it never hurts for them to have more customer input to guide their decisions.  In the meantime, we do have a set of component vendors who have already signed up to build Office 2007 UI controls.  From the bottom of http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2006/nov06/11-21officeui.mspx (this includes some ISVs as well):

    Office UI Licensing Partners

    90Degree Software

    Attachmate

    Falafel Software, Inc.

    DevComponents LLC

    Developer Express

    ILOG, Inc.

    Infragistics, Inc.

    Syncfusion Inc.

    Telerik Corp.

    Xceed

    Objective Computing

    ABB

    MindJet

    Serena Software

    DivElements

  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    Nice job folks.  That makes a lot of sense to me.  I agree with Cyonix however.  MS needs common ribbon control in VS.  Don't want to wait 2 years for 3rd party and pay another 600 for it.  That would seem to be the easiest way to get standards going as I assume your own controls would comply.  That said, I also assume you are working on just that.
  • Good interview. Nice camera work Rory.

    And it would seem that OpenOffice can't use the ribbon interface. I have nothing against OO but it makes me feel good that they can't just rip off the interface like with previous versions.

  • Where is the guidelines document mentioned in the video?

    Edit:  http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/office/aa973809.aspx -- coming soon...
  • Wells wrote:
    Good interview. Nice camera work Rory.

    And it would seem that OpenOffice can't use the ribbon interface. I have nothing against OO but it makes me feel good that they can't just rip off the interface like with previous versions.



    Not using the ribbon UI is one of the major selling points of OpenOffice right now.
  • Jonathan MerriweatherCyonix Me
    Detroit Muscle wrote:
    
    Wells wrote: Good interview. Nice camera work Rory.

    And it would seem that OpenOffice can't use the ribbon interface. I have nothing against OO but it makes me feel good that they can't just rip off the interface like with previous versions.



    Not using the ribbon UI is one of the major selling points of OpenOffice right now.
    Have you actually used office 2007?

    Everyone i have shown loves how much easier the interface is to use, and that's from my technical friends to my mum....  

    Perhaps you could outline the problems with it so as to provide some feedback for the office team.
  • CGHCGH
    Hi guys.  I was 'number 35' to view, but I hopped into bed [to sleep!] before viewing the whole thing [I live in Glasgow, Scotland and its now 06:00 [AM GMT] and another 800 folk have viewed already!

    Great to see Jensen, having had your RSS feed in my Outlook 2007 Beta for the past few months.

    Looking forward to my full production version of O2K7.

    Ciao

    Chas
  • Interesting!!!!

    I'm curious to know if the royalty-free license will extend once the ribbon UI is implemented across other Microsoft products (e.g, Dynamics).  It makes sense to protect the Office competition, but if I put the ribbon in a CRM product will I lose the license if it competes with another Microsoft product with the ribbon in it?
  • Paul D. MurphyPaul D. Murphy The Anti-Beer

    What a bunch of BS. Microsoft can no more license the look and feel of thier UI than Ford can license the look and feel of the GT. You can license the icons, you can license the code; you can't simply state this layout belongs to me and anyone who wants this layout needs my license.

    For about 10k I can by a 3rd party shell to fit on a car chasis that will make my car look like a Ford GT. I have no love for the Open Office crowd, but I hope to God they release a ribbon just to challenge you guys on this draconian and absurd move.


    I'm a big Microsoft fan, but this is nonsense.

    Paul

  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    Paul D. Murphy wrote:
    
    What a bunch of BS. Microsoft can no more license the look and feel of thier UI than Ford can license the look and feel of the GT. You can license the icons, you can license the code; you can't simply state this layout belongs to me and anyone who wants this layout needs my license.

    For about 10k I can by a 3rd party shell to fit on a car chasis that will make my car look like a Ford GT. I have no love for the Open Office crowd, but I hope to God they release a ribbon just to challenge you guys on this draconian and absurd move.


    I'm a big Microsoft fan, but this is nonsense.

    Paul



    IIRC, yes you can.  Apple does it, MS does it, you can do it.
  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    Wells wrote:
    Good interview. Nice camera work Rory.

    And it would seem that OpenOffice can't use the ribbon interface. I have nothing against OO but it makes me feel good that they can't just rip off the interface like with previous versions.



    It sounded like all they would need to do is sign the license and implement it per the specs.  Not sure how it plays with their existing license.
  • Paul D. MurphyPaul D. Murphy The Anti-Beer
    staceyw wrote:
    
    Paul D. Murphy wrote:
    What a bunch of BS. Microsoft can no more license the look and feel of thier UI than Ford can license the look and feel of the GT. You can license the icons, you can license the code; you can't simply state this layout belongs to me and anyone who wants this layout needs my license.

    For about 10k I can by a 3rd party shell to fit on a car chasis that will make my car look like a Ford GT. I have no love for the Open Office crowd, but I hope to God they release a ribbon just to challenge you guys on this draconian and absurd move.


    I'm a big Microsoft fan, but this is nonsense.

    Paul



    IIRC, yes you can.  Apple does it, MS does it, you can do it.



    You are just flat wrong dude.  You can license code. You can license copy. You can license icons. You can license all kinds of things that are tangible. You can't simply say 'blue tabs belong to me' so sign my license if you want blue tabs.

    The whole program is designed to license the document describing the design guildelines. This is fine. Microsoft can license thier guidelines all day long. That doesn't preclude me from making a ribbon like control that looks, feels and operates exactly like the ribbon found in office. By agreeing to the guildelines, I would put myself on the legal bubble with Microsoft. I am free to not license the guidelines and build ribbons till I'm blue in the face so long as my code doesn't violate any patent or copyright held by Microsoft.

    It sounds like Microsoft is trying to say "we own anything that looks or feels like a Ribbon" which they can't do. If you want to make a ribbon go ahead. If you want to make a ribbon and put it onto a word processor that you wrote go ahead. Unless you infringing on Microsoft patents or thier copyright you are free to do that.

    Just like these guys do with the Ford GT.
    http://www.erareplicas.com/gt/gt.htm

    Microsoft is framing the licensing of some guildelines as if that carries the same weight as licensing the actual IP (the code, copy and art used in a ribbon). It doesn't.
  • Christian Liensbergerlittleguru <3 Seattle
    When is this coming? How much is it costing? It's free! Sounds very cool to give us this stuff. Should be included in Visual Studio! Really. Everybody should have the right to use the controls. There is so much thirth party recreating all the controls from Microsoft, but they always feel different. Would be great, if we could get more such controls, also from Vista!

    For example the search box that is used in Vista! That would be great stuff.
  • Paul D. Murphy wrote:
    
    staceyw wrote:
    Paul D. Murphy wrote:
    What a bunch of BS. Microsoft can no more license the look and feel of thier UI than Ford can license the look and feel of the GT. You can license the icons, you can license the code; you can't simply state this layout belongs to me and anyone who wants this layout needs my license.

    For about 10k I can by a 3rd party shell to fit on a car chasis that will make my car look like a Ford GT. I have no love for the Open Office crowd, but I hope to God they release a ribbon just to challenge you guys on this draconian and absurd move.


    I'm a big Microsoft fan, but this is nonsense.

    Paul



    IIRC, yes you can.  Apple does it, MS does it, you can do it.



    You are just flat wrong dude.  You can license code. You can license copy. You can license icons. You can license all kinds of things that are tangible. You can't simply say 'blue tabs belong to me' so sign my license if you want blue tabs.


    How is this any worse than Apple patenting the "genie effect"?

    http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=680
  • Notice that pyramid of black cubes in the video on Jensen's desk?

     

    I'm willing to bet that those represent patents on the ribbon interface.  I wouldn't be surprised if all but one or two are for various aspects of the ribbon.  The ribbon is definitely a patentable idea, so it makes sense that MSFT owns IP on this.

  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    Paul D. Murphy wrote:
    
    You are just flat wrong dude.  You can license code. You can license copy. You can license icons. You can license all kinds of things that are tangible. You can't simply say 'blue tabs belong to me' so sign my license if you want blue tabs.

    The whole program is designed to license the document describing the design guildelines. This is fine. Microsoft can license thier guidelines all day long. That doesn't preclude me from making a ribbon like control that looks, feels and operates exactly like the ribbon found in office. By agreeing to the guildelines, I would put myself on the legal bubble with Microsoft. I am free to not license the guidelines and build ribbons till I'm blue in the face so long as my code doesn't violate any patent or copyright held by Microsoft.

    It sounds like Microsoft is trying to say "we own anything that looks or feels like a Ribbon" which they can't do. If you want to make a ribbon go ahead. If you want to make a ribbon and put it onto a word processor that you wrote go ahead. Unless you infringing on Microsoft patents or thier copyright you are free to do that.

    Just like these guys do with the Ford GT.
    http://www.erareplicas.com/gt/gt.htm

    Microsoft is framing the licensing of some guildelines as if that carries the same weight as licensing the actual IP (the code, copy and art used in a ribbon). It doesn't.


    I am no lawyer, but a simple search turns up many things that seem to counter what you are saying.  Speaking of "Tabs", Adobe already has that one.  By my read, if you make a ribbon bar "virtually identical" to MS's, that could be a patent violation (if they have one).  And, imo, it is different enouph from anything before, that they would win (and the fact they have a million layers).  But the point seems mute, because they are giving everyone an out to avoid all the madness.

    - Adobe Tab patent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tab_%28GUI%29
    - Patents on GUIs: http://www.cptech.org/ip/business/software/gui.html
    - http://lpf.ai.mit.edu/Patents/abstracts/Abstracts.html
    - http://www.macobserver.com/columns/devilsadvocate/2004/20030513.shtml
    - Apple patent on Spring-Folders
    - TrueType font hinting.
    - See "The Virtual Identity Standard" here: http://law.richmond.edu/jolt/v1i1/myers.html
    - Apple Stacks (i.e. piles) http://homepage.mac.com/rdas7/stacks.html
  • well.. to make myself a bit more unwanted around these here parts i have to admit that to me this is all about preventing some of the competing office suites like openoffice to mimic the look and feel of ms office.. which is what they used to do if we're honest for a second.
    good? bad? i tend to think the latter is true.

    a short an inacurate post.. but these are my first sentiments towards this issue.. it just looks weird to customers.
  • What? No link to Jensen's blog!

    Jensen Harris (the GPM in this video) has what I consider one of the best blogs out there. He covers the full life of the Ribbon, with excellent explanations of the features, and why they came about. Check it out here,

    http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/default.aspx

    For new readers of his blog, he recently posted an "index" of his posts,

    http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/2006/11/10/the-office-2007-ui-bible.aspx
  • Hi All, this is the first time ive posted on 9 Smiley

    regarding the UI, would you think I would have to licence our Web App, its based on the Office UI, not eact but close Smiley

    here are some shots.

    http://www.y2media.co.uk/images/files/brandvu1.jpg

    http://www.y2media.co.uk/images/files/brandvu2.jpg

    any thoughts on licencing would be gratefully received.

    Thanks
  • staceyw wrote:
    

    I am no lawyer, but a simple search turns up many things that seem to counter what you are saying.  Speaking of "Tabs", Adobe already has that one.  By my read, if you make a ribbon bar "virtually identical" to MS's, that could be a patent violation (if they have one).  And, imo, it is different enouph from anything before, that they would win (and the fact they have a million layers).  But the point seems mute, because they are giving everyone an out to avoid all the madness.

    - Adobe Tab patent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tab_%28GUI%29
    - Patents on GUIs: http://www.cptech.org/ip/business/software/gui.html
    - http://lpf.ai.mit.edu/Patents/abstracts/Abstracts.html
    - http://www.macobserver.com/columns/devilsadvocate/2004/20030513.shtml
    - Apple patent on Spring-Folders
    - TrueType font hinting.
    - See "The Virtual Identity Standard" here: http://law.richmond.edu/jolt/v1i1/myers.html
    - Apple Stacks (i.e. piles) http://homepage.mac.com/rdas7/stacks.html


    Wow, I can't believe that I have to sign a seperate legal agreement with MS even when I use design guideline compliant controls from a third party like Dotnetbar.  Free agreement or not, intentional or not, this says loud and clear MS self-interests are more important than it's customers and that we can't be trusted.

    What's interesting is that you could get close to the office 2007 ribbon using existing controls available in most all GUI's.   The idea that Microsoft somehow now owns tabbed groups of toolbar buttons with the name "ribbon" is silly.  I've done tabbed groups of toolbar image/text buttons numerous times in the past in my own applications.  This is NOT a new invention.  3D Studio Max has had tabbed toolbars for a long time.  There are some additional frill features that Office 2007 ribbon has, like collapsing, scaling, etc, but that once again can be quickly added to controls already in the wild.   What you won't get easily though, is the exact look and feel of the office 2007 ribbon, but that will probably not be that important in competing products like OpenOffice.  There is no reason why OpenOffice couldn't implement tabbed toolbars with their own look, without being accused of copying the ribbon control, because there was already prior art for tabbed toolbars.  I look forward to hearing who it is Microsoft thinks they can prosecute for doing something similiar, but not "exactly" like the "new" ribbon control. [6]

    > sounds like Microsoft is trying to say "we own anything that looks or feels like a Ribbon" which they can't do

    I agree.  The ribbon looks and functions alot like a tabbed toolbar, which was clearly implemented prior.  MS did not invent this concept, they, as usual, enhanced prior art and then claimed it as their own.  On top of that they turn around and discourage others from doing the same with the ribbon control.  In the video they actually talk about not allowing others to "enhance" the Office 2007 controls.  Say what?  MS can improve upon what others have come up with, but we can't improve upon what MS has came up with?  Do as MS says, not as they do?  That sound fair?  Not to me.
  • According to Microsoft, you definitely need a license. But the license is BS, as many have stated.

    Also, this could be fun for reference:

    http://daringfireball.net/2006/12/microsoft_workgroup_manager_icon

    BTW. Nice UI on your CMS! Smiley
  • tctc
    Its clear to me that Microsoft spent a lot of time and money developing this UI.  It seems probable that one or more patents or copyrights owned by Microsoft would apply and be valid.  I've certainly never seen something like it.

    Since the license is free, and the only things you really have to agree with are (roughly speaking):

        1.  you aren't directly competing with Office 2007 products and
        2.  if you're going to use this UI, do a good job of it.

    it seems quite reasonable. 

    If you want to make money cloning Office 2007, you'll have to take the risk that Microsoft will attempt to enforce its IP rights.  If, as some have argued, this is prior art and invalid, you'll have a good argument.  On the other hand, if you're just using the Office 2007 to make your application look cool and seem to be part of the Office suite, Microsoft has given you a way to do with without running the risk of violating their IP.

    The license is voluntary.  Your position without signing it is exactly the same as it would have been if Microsoft never offered the program.  The only thing the program does (and I, for one, appreciate it) is make it safe to use that UI without fear that you are violating Microsoft's IP.  I suspect there are many companies out there who's legal departments have told them they can't use that UI for fear of lawsuits.  This gives those companies a way to do so safely.
  • As I said earliar, tabbed toolbars are not new: http://animation.about.com/od/3danimationtutorials/ss/3dsmax_less1p2_2.htm

    I hope that fancier versions of tabbed toolbars with some style changes like gradient colors, collapsing, etc, are not what MS thinks they can go after.  If Open Office adds distinct looking tabbed toolbars I certainly hope MS doesn't attempt to claim ownership of this concept.

    Bottom line is MS is an intimidating enough force, and MS Office market penetration is deep enough,  to get most everyone to sign the Office 2007 UI agreement.  It has in large part become a me-too affair.
  • Bohdan Trotsenkomodosansrev​es modosansrev​es
    Why didn't they patent the menu ?
    It would be funny to buy a licence for placing 'File' in there.
  • Bohdan Trotsenkomodosansrev​es modosansrev​es

Remove this comment

Remove this thread

close

Comments Closed

Comments have been closed since this content was published more than 30 days ago, but if you'd like to continue the conversation, please create a new thread in our Forums,
or Contact Us and let us know.