Coffeehouse Thread

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  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    , cheong wrote

    @JoshRoss: With this reasoning you may tell Microsoft to not bother making Excel for WP, ExcelViewer for WP would have been good enough.

    Yep.  If you honestly believe you are going to create anything of value in excel on a phone, you are arguing an extreme edge case.  You should count your lucky stars that you can painfully update generic xlsx files that don't have the above listed limitations.

    But wait, we might as well just export the file as PDF and view it on a Windows Phone. In that case I could have uninstalled Office for WP and save a few GB of storage. Just install PDF viewer for WP which is 4MB in size would be enough.

    That's just more silly extremism, but if you'd rather lose any excel functionality at all simply because you can't manipulate fields that contain macros, be my guest.

    It's a security hole, it's prohibitively difficult to implement, and it's an edge case that only serves to perpetuate poor application design choices.  If you are writing LOB applications in excel, you are a hack.

     

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , ScanIAm wrote

    *snip*

    If you are writing LOB applications in excel, you are a hack.

    This is so true. We have engineers who have built complex apps in Excel. They were very "modular" in their design where each workbook in the app was one of several "modules" that made up the application. Talk about a dependency clusterf___.

    That said if I throw together a quick & dirty data collection spreadsheet that has simple cleanup macros attached my collectors shouldn't be blocked from entering data against that spreadsheet when using it on a WP or from the web. When macros are disabled they pose no security risk.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    @ScanIAm: hence Excel is amazing. We can put some LOB hack and it works so great. It is a hack that works so well with small to mid sized company. And all of my coworkers has so much easier adoption time when they do something with excel sheet, run macro, do some more excel sheet manipulation, save as new file, all done. It is brilliant ad hock workflow.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • User profile image
    Kental2

    So weird, I've been working in the private sector for 10 years now and I've never come across a single office macro at any of the companies I've worked for.  Companies ranging in size from 15 to 800 people.  Yet reading this thread, it's as if I'm in some kind of twilight zone and everyone uses them at least once a week.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    @Kental2: this depends on your job responsibilities and company size. My current job would never touch Excel macro, we rarely use Excel as well.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • User profile image
    kettch

    @DeathByVisualStudio: You're assuming that you know why macro-enabled spreadsheets are read-only.

    I fear that this is another case of somebody declaring that "change x is soooo simple" without having any knowledge of the work needed to plan, engineer the change, make the change, not introduce bugs, test, test, test, make work across all languages and configurations, test, test, test...

    Without having any special knowledge, my guess is that it's simply a matter of prioritizing work for each release.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Kental2 wrote

    So weird, I've been working in the private sector for 10 years now and I've never come across a single office macro at any of the companies I've worked for. 

    You've obviously never worked in the American Financial system.

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , kettch wrote

    @DeathByVisualStudio: You're assuming that you know why macro-enabled spreadsheets are read-only.

    I fear that this is another case of somebody declaring that "change x is soooo simple" without having any knowledge of the work needed to plan, engineer the change, make the change, not introduce bugs, test, test, test, make work across all languages and configurations, test, test, test...

    Without having any special knowledge, my guess is that it's simply a matter of prioritizing work for each release.

    I never said I knew why they were read-only and I never said the solution was simple. I'm saying it's a problem. And rather than simply acknowledging the problem exists you go out of your way to give Microsoft every out on why they haven't/shouldn't fix this. If anything its an opportunity for Microsoft to do better. It's too bad you don't seem to see it that way.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    kettch

    @DeathByVisualStudio: It's only a problem if it's something that comes up. I use spreadsheets on my phone all the time, but it's not a "problem" for me because I don't use macros.

    Your problem exists, but what I'm saying is that it's not the problem that Microsoft should be solving.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , DeathBy​VisualStudio wrote

    *snip*

    I never said I knew why they were read-only and I never said the solution was simple. I'm saying it's a problem. And rather than simply acknowledging the problem exists you go out of your way to give Microsoft every out on why they haven't/shouldn't fix this. If anything its an opportunity for Microsoft to do better. It's too bad you don't seem to see it that way.

    Microsoft has finite resources. Every feature they add comes at the expense of another feature they can't add.

    The question isn't "Should Microsoft have implemented VBA on Windows Phone", but rather "What feature should they have not implemented in order to spend time coding, testing and security checking VBA on Windows Phone",

    Or if you prefer to use the future tense "Should Microsoft introduce VBA into the next version for the small-ish numbers of people that want it, or should they add something else, like support for older versions of Excel documents?".

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @evildictaitor: I would much rather have support for more file formats. I still get the odd doc or xls from people. The other day I got a wps file!

    Like you say, I could demand the ability to open WordPerfect, Quattro, Lotus Notes, and reverse binary encoded paradox indices, but that's not the right way of going about it. I don't think that the WP team should spend time supporting every file format under the sun. Instead, this sounds like something that Hotmail/SkyDrive needs to handle. Give me a message that says, "We can't open this document locally, would you like to download a converted version?" Instead of spending the time on supporting stuff that nobody on the phone cares about, you can use some of the conversion expertise that they already have, leverage the cloud, and still provide some advanced features without compromising the security or performance of the device. You also get the ability to support the desktop, iOS, Android, etc with a single backend service. You go from spending a lot of time on a useless feature that a ridiculously small number of people will care about, to something that's much more useful.

    Of course, this is all wishful thinking too. Smiley

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    @evildictaitor:

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    Microsoft has finite resources. Every feature they add comes at the expense of another feature they can't add.

    The question isn't "Should Microsoft have implemented VBA on Windows Phone", but rather "What feature should they have not implemented in order to spend time coding, testing and security checking VBA on Windows Phone",

    Or if you prefer to use the future tense "Should Microsoft introduce VBA into the next version for the small-ish numbers of people that want it, or should they add something else, like support for older versions of Excel documents?".

    That's funny because, again, I'm not talking about wanting support for VBA on the phone. I'm talking about blocking VBA but allowing the spreadsheet to be edited. You are oversimplifying why Microsoft shouldn't work on this feature by making it out to be a much broader scope that the issue presented.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , DeathBy​VisualStudio wrote

    @evildictaitor:

    That's funny because, again, I'm not talking about wanting support for VBA on the phone. I'm talking about blocking VBA but allowing the spreadsheet to be edited. You are oversimplifying why Microsoft shouldn't work on this feature by making it out to be a much broader scope that the issue presented.

    Every feature has to be written and tested before it can be released. If VBA-enabled documents were disabled but the document editable, that means that WP needs to be able to save documents with VBA macros in, otherwise you end up with customers complaining that when they get sent a document, they fill it out and email it back, all of the macros are missing.

    Disabling editing when there is stuff in the document you're not sure you can preserve over an edit is less work than enabling edits and potentially corrupting the file or throwing away information in the document that customers might really want.

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    Every feature has to be written and tested before it can be released. If VBA-enabled documents were disabled but the document editable, that means that WP needs to be able to save documents with VBA macros in, otherwise you end up with customers complaining that when they get sent a document, they fill it out and email it back, all of the macros are missing.

    Disabling editing when there is stuff in the document you're not sure you can preserve over an edit is less work than enabling edits and potentially corrupting the file or throwing away information in the document that customers might really want.

    Which is not the same as: 

    "What feature should they have not implemented in order to spend time coding, testing and security checking VBA on Windows Phone"

    nor

    "Should Microsoft introduce VBA into the next version for the small-ish numbers of people that want it, or should they add something else, like support for older versions of Excel documents?"

     

    Do you really think preserving parts of a file that the app doesn't support is the same scope as adding VBA support?

    Isn't the very nature of Office Open XML Format is to allow support for different versions of Office apps to with different feature sets to work on the same file without rendering it useless? It certainly isn't free to implement but it isn't near the scope of adding VBA support to the web and WP versions.

    So EvilD have you settled on a scope yet or are all issues not raised by you nor kettch bad ideas because they require such things as development time and testing -- like any other feature?

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    cheong

    , evildictait​or wrote

    Every feature has to be written and tested before it can be released. If VBA-enabled documents were disabled but the document editable, that means that WP needs to be able to save documents with VBA macros in, otherwise you end up with customers complaining that when they get sent a document, they fill it out and email it back, all of the macros are missing.

    That would be strange. The macros in .xlsx file is in seperate subfolder (XLSX format is zip file with folders of XML files). That means it's at least "at the surface" no implication to modify data and save the file again with macros leave there un-touched.

    Disabling editing when there is stuff in the document you're not sure you can preserve over an edit is less work than enabling edits and potentially corrupting the file or throwing away information in the document that customers might really want.

    In Office for Windows Desktop we can still edit data with macro disabled. Just display a line on top that macros will be always disabled on WP version would be enough. At least those want to edit can edit.

    That's way better than turning your Office for WP to be ExcelViewer for all the documents that contains workflow related macros.

    ExcelViewer for Windows Desktop sized 75MB. Even if you make it 5 times to cover other office document viewers, it's still much lighter than the current size of Office for WP.

    Recent Achievement unlocked: Code Avenger Tier 4/6: You see dead program. A lot!
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  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , DeathBy​VisualStudio wrote

    Isn't the very nature of Office Open XML Format is to allow support for different versions of Office apps to with different feature sets to work on the same file without rendering it useless? It certainly isn't free to implement but it isn't near the scope of adding VBA support to the web and WP versions.

    I don't know a whole lot about Office, but I was pretty sure the reason for the Office XML was to do with complying with European regulations.

    So EvilD have you settled on a scope yet or are all issues not raised by you nor kettch bad ideas because they require such things as development time and testing -- like any other feature?

    I'm not saying all features are bad. I'm just saying that at Microsoft they have the phrase "all features start at minus 100 points".

    It means that since there's an opportunity cost to every feature, and an actual cost in terms of testing and implementing it, your feature can't merely be "better than now" to be implemented. Every line of code you add has to be maintained, localized, tested, potentially adds a security bug or a feature that you have to backwards support, so features have a high opportunity cost.

    You seem to consistently mistake my attitude as being one of saying "MS don't need to add that feature" as some kind of "defending" Microsoft. It's actually quite the opposite. I'm saying that they should be implementing better features, because if you only get to pick say 6 new features over the next few months, I'd rather they be ones that people want, rather than ones like VBA on a WP that so far as I can tell, few if anybody actually need.

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    I don't know a whole lot about Office, but I was pretty sure the reason for the Office XML was to do with complying with European regulations.

    While that may be part of what gave birth to OOXML it was really all about the money and control. Many of government agencies were yammering about making open standard document formats a requirement. Here's just a sample from Mary Jo. Microsoft got caught with it's pants down as ODF beat them to certification. Microsoft was worried that their beloved Office was going to be tossed aside in favor of Open Office by these government agencies. In response Microsoft had to fast track OOXML through the standards review which many would agree was ugly at best.

    In any case the trigger that caused OOXML to be created doesn't detract from the fact that it's very nature makes it more suitable for supporting editing of documents by applications that can't support the full feature set -- all the while without corrupting the document. Like I said before I doesn't mean it's free to implement but it's a whole lot closer than you suggest.

    *snip*

    You seem to consistently mistake my attitude as being one of saying "MS don't need to add that feature" as some kind of "defending" Microsoft. It's actually quite the opposite. I'm saying that they should be implementing better features, because if you only get to pick say 6 new features over the next few months, I'd rather they be ones that people want, rather than ones like VBA on a WP that so far as I can tell, few if anybody actually need.

    I hope you can see how easy it would be to make the "mistake" when you do so much of your defense here by taking things out of context or changing the scope. When you do that it makes you appear very desperate and at least in my book seem very disingenuine in your efforts. Even with great explanations like this:

    I'm not saying all features are bad. I'm just saying that at Microsoft they have the phrase "all features start at minus 100 points".

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    fanbaby

    @kettch: Thanks.

    I think you are unkind to Access. The fact that you can make abominations with it doesn't mean that you will. As a pre-internet tool I think it's one of the best. What is an abomination is the HTML output of access and all the other apps in office.

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