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Product Suggestion: MS Office (Specifically Outlook)

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    Not sure what the rationale is or will be behind these types of decisions, but I thought I would make a suggestion here so that someone might consider my suggestion for it's merit anyway.

    When saving user information in Office, perhaps in preparation for computer maintenance, moving to another computer, reloading, upgrading,  or what ever reason you may have.

    (repairing broken development environments due to exhaustive developer experiments with VSIP) (Blog post coming soon, for some reason unknown to me posting this to C9 is taking precedence over posting to my Blog today)

    There is plenty to consider. There are so many steps in fact that in my opinion (and experience) it is too easy to overlook a piece of important information. It only takes once and you could forever lose a piece of information stored on your computer that you would never have thought to backup.

    Case in Point
    Outlook 2003 (Part of Office Professional EE Specifically) One would typically create backups of the Outlook Data Files [backup.pst] and account settings for each mail (or exchange) account. And well one would expect that to just about do it. Well yesterday I changed some things around. This due to my over-confident-developer-attitude I had to re-work my desk. (Details to a Blog near you coming soon). Well one investment I have into Office is my "OPTIONS AND CONFIGURATIONS SETTINGS". These include things like, how frequently to check my mail, and more importantly my "BLOCKED SENDERS LIST AND EMAIL RULES".

    While I am sure that a Files and Settings Transfer Wizard like that found here:

    Could be well made for Office, this is not what is needed. Here's why. The goal of the move in most cases is the fix, clean, or upgrade the system.  In all three cases the registry is paramount, meaning we desire it to be changed or needs to be new. In some case's connectivity is the issue. The target system is the same host partition as the source.
    What is needed.
    Consider a separation of concerns with respect to conceptual programming methodologies such as extreme programming, TDD or oop and usability. What we need is usability. And when programming complex systems today (I am guilty of this myself), we tend to divide and conquer, rather than consider an impact of a particular design consideration.

    One such SOC (Separation of concerns):
    That of User Data and Application Data. The registry is a good thing, use properly it has made the world (environment) a better place. IMHO, The registry is not the place to keep USER_SPECIFIC_DATA, and therefore should be limited to SYSTEM_DATA, APPLICATION_DATA, CONFIGURATION_DATA, and ADMINISTRATIVE_DATA. 

    Finally the product suggestion
    The .pst or DATA FILE should be engineered to be a comprehensive USER_SPECIFIC and SINGULAR file containing all information objects related to that users experience.  It is the opinion of this developer that every application should contain such a file thereby permitting each user total control of that which matters most to him or her, their "data".

    While some redundancy will no-doubt occur with the above described SOC the impact is far reaching in that each user will have total influence of his or her "file", minimizing opportunities for mistakes by that user, or a more global mistake by an administrative type, this would even help the over-confident-developer who runs as "admin".



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    Jaz, thanks, I posted this to the wiki as well. -JB

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