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A Look At Office 2010 with Chris Capossela

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Today at the Worldwide Partner Conference, Office 2010 will be opening up the tech preview to tens of thousands of people. This iteration of Office brings great collaboration tools and a web client that you'll be able to use simply by keeping your docs up on Skydrive. That means almost half a billion people will have access to free online Office apps at launch.

Senior Vice President of the Office products, Chris Capossela, stopped by the Channel 9 studios to tell us about Office 2010, what his favorite features are, and how we'll all get a chance to try it out. Chris Bryant follows with a walk-through of Office 2010 and a look at just some of the new features. For more information, go to www.microsoft.com/Office2010/.

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  • I am very disappointed with the apparent lack of any MS Access improvements. Access would still remain it seems an old, forgotten database application from the 90s, which the company cannot get rid of. VBA would still be used in MS Access 2010 it seems, a very old and unproductive in the current age programming language, a language which even your Developer Group wants to abolish. DAO would still it seems be used in Access 2010 for data access even though newer .NET technologies have been with us for a decade now. What would then be different from Access 2010 and the old Access 2000?

     I am also very disappointed with the seeming lack of improvements in Publisher 2010. What is Publisher used for nowadays? Why is not the product rennovated?

    Outlook 2010 got threaded conversations which is good of course but not really something to bost about since other e-mail services had this feature for ages. And what about Outlook Live. Will there be an online and a Windows Live application of Outlook or advanced users should be happy with Hotmail which has no threads and no clean-up functionality. And what about this new clean-up functionality in Outlook 2010, why does it delete the e-mails which have text that appears in newer e-mails in a given thread? Why doesn't it simply leave all e-mails intact and remove just the extra annoying quoted text from all replies. This would have been a useful feature and should have been available both in Outlook and in Hotmail and Windows Live Mail. Isn't that easy to implement. You are too slow in improving your mail applications.

    What about your developer story. I am also disappointed. Why don't you introduce an improvement to the antiquated VBA? Why not a better macro language like Python? Why don't you improve the discovery and installation, as well as the automatic update of Office extensions, like Firefox does? You had 3 years to work and it seems Office will be similar to the Office before regarding: Access, Publisher, the interface, more advanced functionality in Outlook that others did not have 4 years ago and no improved macro/extensibility story. What is the most important announcement then, the Web versions. But those should have been designed by another team and the main team should have carried out more modernizations in Office. Why don't Science people use Office to write their papers for example? Lack of exact formatting in Word, advanced equations perhaps, hard to apply and maintain styles, poor bibliographic assistance, no direct link to good research or bibliographical databases

    . Have you looked into those?

  • CplCarrotCplCarrot Dust Puppy

    I feel that so much of your post is out of date that any valid comment you have is lost.

    To begin with Visual Studio Tools for Office Then from here

    Obsolete Data Access Technologies

    Obsolete technologies are technologies that have not been enhanced or updated in several product releases and that will be excluded from future product releases. Do not use these technologies when you write new applications. When you modify existing applications that are written by using these technologies, consider migrating those applications to ADO.NET.

    The following components are considered obsolete:

    • DB-Library: This is a SQL Server–specific programming model that includes C APIs. There have been no feature enhancements to the DB-Library since SQL Server 6.5. Its final release was with SQL Server 2000, and it will not be ported to the 64-bit Windows operating system.
    • Embedded SQL (E-SQL): This is a SQL Server–specific programming model that enables Transact-SQL statements to be embedded in Visual C code. No feature enhancements have been made to the E-SQL since SQL Server 6.5. Its final release was with SQL Server 2000, and it will not be ported to the 64-bit Windows operating system.
    • Data Access Objects (DAO): DAO provides access to JET (Access) databases. This API can be used from Microsoft Visual Basic, Microsoft Visual C++, and scripting languages. It was included with Microsoft Office 2000 and Office XP. DAO 3.6 is the final version of this technology. It will not be available on the 64-bit Windows

    So this is the 21C calling. Come in your time is up.

     

  • Greg Braygbrayut Check out PhraseMeme Scanner for Windows Phone at ​PhraseMeme.​com

    Regarding use of python as a scripting language, I have to say that there is a LOT of potential there. I played around with Resolver One's Spreadsheet program, which uses IronPython as the macro/scripting language, and it is much easier to use for creating and maintaining complex spreadsheets. VBA is very out dated, and IronPython is a perfect substitute. Imagine trying to do this in VBA.

    Otherwise, Glad to see the improvments in Office 2010. New features in Powerpoint and Word, Collaboration on documents, conversation view, filters for Pivot Charts, and Sparklines! Looks pretty sweet!

    Keep up the great work!

  • Yes, you are right that DAO is out-of-date and not to be used. As I said as well .NET technologies have been with us for a decade now. I am not saying that we should continue using the old staff like DAO. On the contrary. However, since MS Access still uses VBA which was written before the .NET era developers have to still use DAO. There is no way out of old technologies with many Office applications. Regarding, Visual Studio Tools for Office you are right it is modern but:

    Can you program Access with it? No.

    Can you right Macros with it? No.

    Do you know how many VBAExcel macros are continuously written in banks and other financial institutions?

    Do you know what a pain VBA is to us? It is like people who continue to live in the 90s?

    And don't tell me switch everyone to VSTO because:

    (A) VSTO is not a macro language. You can't tell your banker to write a quick Excel add-in just for a complex set of calculations on one workbook.

    (B) Add-ins are not as easy to move from place to place unlike macros.

    (C) Macros are interactive like a shell almost.

    (D) Even VSTO uses an antiquated Office object model hidden behind horrible COM interop and primary assemblies, which until now has been a nightmare to work with. And I am not only talking about the assemblies and their installation but also about the Office object model itself which needs modernizing.

    (E) Add-ins are not easily and centrally managed, auto-updated and discovered. Where is there a good Add-ins marketplace that is useful and integrated with Office.

    Perhaps the above are not important. But a decade ago I was happy to be an Office developer and VBA was an innovation. Now it has become a burden. A decade ago Access was thriving. Now?

  • Joshua RossJoshRoss Drinking Ovaltine since 2004

    You will not see the changes you are seeking until office is forked.  You can only stray so far into modernity before backwards compatibility requirements destroy whatever hope you had of making the world a better place.

    Before there was office, there was a collection of independent applications.  I don't see why you still cannot look at office now and see a bunch of replaceable parts.  This is especially true since most data resides in many fewer file formats, than were used 15 years ago.  And most of these new formats can be converted from one to another without needing a PhD in computer science.  The world now revolves around interoperability and minimal-inventory maximum-diversity via composability.

    If you want a better Publisher, use Indesign.  If you want a better pivot table, use Tableau.  If you want better web mail, use the one that starts with G.  If you want a better solver, use Mathematica.

    If enough people switch applications, or even start using a competitors offerings, the impact of breaking backwards compatibility is reduced, for Microsoft, and perhaps something will change.  At the very least, you will see the missing features finding their way into future releases of the software you spend most of your day in.

    Vote with your wallet.

    -Josh

  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw

    imo office needs more managed code.. the code of the office programming experience should really be .net (maybe VB by default but c# should be available as well) vsto is a babystep in the right direction but it uses com to talk to office, its not "native" to it.

    office really is alot like windows used to be. a massive somewhat bloated system with lots and lots of components that are tightly coupled together. i wont say office is really bad, and 2010 will be an improvment but its miles and miles behind  visual studio and blend, in terms of architecture.

    windows has done a great job of slimming down and moving old stuff into separate downloads/plugins. office should take a look at that stuff.

    imagine if office was like vs2010 and used mef for extensions (and internal components) now that,'d be something.

     

    --edit--

    btw, what about mesh? skydrive is mentioned but mesh is supposed to be te future..  skydrive and mesh really need to be consolidated imo

  • What about Office Live Workspaces?

    And how is the web notebooks folder of OneNote going to be setup?

  • @aL_:
    I agree.  An architecture update for Office is needed.  The Object Model is very convoluted, some of it makes little sense, it's defiantly time.  Some people would argue that it's expensive, well sure it is.  Office is primarily written in C++ with perhaps some managed code (like the office contact manager) somewhere.  It will cost money to port it, not to mention the quirks of COM are probably not the same quirks as .NET.  Not to also mention supporting all the Office documents of the past.

    If Microsoft can dedicate time to Azure, then I feel they could probably inspire the Office team to update their technology stack.  Don't forget, Blend (WPF with MFC) and Expression (MFC) are still native apps.  Blend is more managed because of WPF, but it has native code under it.  Which just blows my mind.  There was a talk at PDC where the presenter explained how they bought this company and ported the tools.  It amazes me today that we still use MFC for "File > New Project" type of things.  I won't rant about C++, It will always be my first love, let’s leave it at that.  Is there anything that Blend or Expression is doing which can't be accomplished in .NET?  I mean is it really process and calculating things that fast?

    As for VSTO, it's really a joke.  How many of us write code for a single XLS document, we don't.  Most of us use Office automation, to do just that, Automate Office.  We write code that automates Excel to process hundreds if not thousands of Spreadsheets at once; we don't write code to pull a report from SharePoint.  There are some that do, but that is the "Hello World!" of Office Automation.
    The problem really lies between bridging COM and .NET.  These too technologies function very differently.

    With COM you query an interface and hope that "success" is returned by what you do.  With .NET you directly reference something; it isn't a stab in the dark.  Plus COM errors are very hard to decipher.  If I'm wrong, please correct me.

    @Nektar
    Most people who use VBA use the VBA recorder.  They are not developers, they understand Excel functions, but that is where it stops. 

    They have no desire to program, and most time they come to me and ask me how to do something.

    If we want to see Office come into the 21 century in terms of platform then I'm not sure what we need to do.  Perhaps the mentality of the Office team needs to change; perhaps the mentality of the organization needs to change, not sure.  Office is a great product, and perhaps the first people think when you say "Microsoft", but the people who though Office were cool are pushing 40, none of us young bucks think it's cool, and to me that’s a problem. No one says that the Internet is dead, and it's been around longer than all of these things.

    Office, it's time to wake up!

  • Andreas LipphardtAndreas L Andreas

    For sparklines that work with older Excel version (Excel 2000, XP, 2003 and 2007) have a look on MicroCharts

    http://www.bonavistasystems.com

    Andreas

  • Joshua RossJoshRoss Drinking Ovaltine since 2004

    I hope someone from Microsoft delivered a wheelbarrow full of cash to these guys, in exchange for a licensing agreement.  Otherwise, I would say someone got ripped-off.

  • CplCarrotCplCarrot Dust Puppy

    I dont think this is the sole preserve of spark lines as I am fairly sure that it is a feature of most of the major data visualisation players. But I do know that in my prev job we used XL^3 for data analysis over SSAS and it kicked Excel's but. I hope that the issues Excel 2007 had in early days when presented with a real cube dont re-occour in 2010

  • Office 2010 sounds interesting, but why wait for it to come out when you can use a product like eXpresso which already exists. I use eXpresso for business and personal needs and I LOVE IT! eXpresso provides real-time collaboration and editing control for shared Microsoft Office files in the cloud. Check it out at www.expressocorp.com

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