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Office killer- PDF as default word processing format

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
I think it's probably inevitable (and welcome) that Apple will introduce an office suite. It occurred to me that if they made their default format PDF they would largely eliminate concerns about compatibility.

At least you could be sure that people in the PC world could read your documents without having to export them.

Reading them would be another matter, but I can see a collaboration with Adobe to make sure that all PC PDF reader installations also install a PDF to word converter.

I'm not sure as to whether a spreadsheet and presentation format could also be in PDF, but don't see why not.

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post #2 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Nordstrodamus
I can see a collaboration with Adobe to make sure that all PC PDF reader installations also install a PDF to word converter.

I'm not sure as to whether a spreadsheet and presentation format could also be in PDF, but don't see why not.

well, first, adobe charges (and assumedly makes money) on their "pro" acrobat. the "pro" version allows you to edit pdfs. and its already available for mac and pc. i'm pretty sure that there already exists an adobe product which allows word->pdf conversion (even pdf->word).

second, i dont think its a good idea to support the pdf format or promote it. making 'Preview' was great, because adobe's viewer was falling behind. but i dont think apple wants to start creating products who's sole or large advantage is a format under some other company's control.

as for spreadsheets, well they aren't nearly as effective in a static format. pdf generation, now, either means converting a static image to pdf, or using adobe's proprietary product to edit. presentations might work (well, presentations without all the glit and effects of powerpoint/keynote).
post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by thuh Freak
[B]well, first, adobe charges (and assumedly makes money) on their "pro" acrobat. the "pro" version allows you to edit pdfs. and its already available for mac and pc. i'm pretty sure that there already exists an adobe product which allows word->pdf conversion (even pdf->word).

I think Adobe's market is a lot more specialized. They could continue to make profits from paper capture and publishing companies that need really fine control over PDFs. My dream is for them to collaborate with a digital copier company to make a copier that automatically loads copys onto a disk in PDF image+text format.

Quote:

second, i dont think its a good idea to support the pdf format or promote it. making 'Preview' was great, because adobe's viewer was falling behind. but i dont think apple wants to start creating products who's sole or large advantage is a format under some other company's control.

I agree, but isn't Quartz largely based on PDF in some way? And Apple clearly has some sort of agreement or rights to make PDF as it is availaible within the system from any ap that can print. Despite this, Acrobat Pro still has a good mac market.
Quote:

as for spreadsheets, well they aren't nearly as effective in a static format. pdf generation, now, either means converting a static image to pdf, or using adobe's proprietary product to edit. presentations might work (well, presentations without all the glit and effects of powerpoint/keynote).

Clearly the pdfs would have to be editable, but within the confines of their purpose.

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post #4 of 43
the way apple uses it now is through the opened pdf spec. i think it was an involuntary, or independantly, run through the pdf format. i don't think there is an easy way to make really editable pdfs, aside from licensing from adobe, or using their product. i'm pretty sure that the opened spec doesn't go into the full depth that adobe has, for creating pdfs.
post #5 of 43
I actually posted about this a couple months ago in my LiveJournal.

Here's what I had to say then:

So my friend Adam and I were talking, via IM of course, about the state of Office software on the Mac (and, in turn, on computers in general). I know, pathetic. But look at me, Im an unattractive, uninteresting gay male sitting at home, doing laundry on a Friday night. Pathetic is my life. Please shoot me.

Anyway, Adams a big fan of OpenOffice.orgs efforts to build an open source office software suite that can go to the mattresses with Microsoft. Me? Not so much. OpenOffice is a powerful suite, and Im sure its a technical marvel of interesting code. But none of that means a think to me, because its ugly. Unusable on a Mac, and not much better on Windows. Short of a ground up recode and redesign of the entire -- and I mean entire -- interface, I cant see it ever being software worth using. There are only a few companies that can make livable software interfaces -- Adobe, Microsoft and Apple being three of the big ones. Adobe has no office suite and no need for one. Microsoft already rules this roost with a functional, if not all that friendly, cadre of powerful (and powerfully insecure) applications.

Which leaves Apple.

Ive written about Apple and office software before -- called productiivity software before Microsofts behemoth of a suite became synonymous with the term. The conversation this afternoon got me thinking about it again, and how much Id like to see Apple build a word processor. I like Nisus Writer Express a lot -- but Id like a Keynote-type app (smooth and powerful) better. Of course, the problem with a word processor is the document format. Word is a standard thats hard to topple. Impossible, Id wager. So any company that goes after the word processing market, even at the fringes of the Mac platform, has to deal with the ubiquity of the Word format and what that means for the distribution of documents created in their own application.

Do they natively write Word files? Obviously, the program would have to read them, in order to handle files sent in from Windows users and to access legacy data. But should a competitor program build its file format around a closed and moving target like .doc? Is it even possible? Or should a second class standard, like the closed-but-public .rtf format, be used? Thats the path that Nisus has taken. To its gain or detriment, its too early to tell.

Which led me to remember something else Adam once suggested -- what about a word processor that used PDF as its native format?

Im an admitted PDF-addict. The format is so versatile, so powerful, theres nothing about PDF thats not to love -- except perhaps for its limitations as an eBook format. PDF is also ubiquitious -- do you know anyone who doesnt have Acrobat Reader or Adobe Reader on their computer, or a comparable product? Most word processing documents that are sent out are meant to be read, not altered. I get Word docs all the time from my boss -- theyre like tablets from the top of Sinai, to be read, not altered. Id suspect most word processor files sent out are similarly perused, not rewritten. So a word processor that natively saved files in PDF format would be able to share read-only versions with other computers, even other platforms, with ease. And in times when the second party does need to edit, thats when you can save a copy as RTF or DOC.

I can think of other advantages a PDF-based word processor format would have. PDFs have built in security features that any PDF-distilling application can activate when saving them. Think of the inherent security in a word processor that can send out files based on an open, well-accepted standard, but which can be secured to limit viewing, printing, editing, extraction, copying, etc -- without the cumbersome Right Management software for the operating system required by Microsofts secure documents initiative in Office System 2003. These secure documents would also be cross platform, accessible (to those with the access code) on Macs, Windows machines and Linux boxes, all from the get go. No special software required.

Also, since the documents would be built in the published PDF format, not the proprietary, hidden DOC format, theyd be future-proofed. An open standard is one that people need never fear will disappear, rendering their documents unaccessible.

Sure, PDF files can get awfully large when filled with lots of graphics and the like, but were talking about word processing documents -- mainly text with a few blurry JPG files here and there, most likely. And Mac OS X has the ability to read and write PDF files quickly -- just think how spry the OS is at taking the word document youve been slaving over and throwing it to Preview for a quick check before printing, and remember that in doing that it first creates a PDF of the document. All in seconds. I just converted a 60 KB Word file (all text, 27 pages of it) to PDF using the Preview function of the OS X Print dialogue, and the result was a 68 KB PDF.

PDF is so integral a part of the structure of Mac OS X that itd almost be a shame not to use it, unless there is some technical reason why its not feasible. I cant think of any. Sure, thered be issues of what program would open an Apple word processor generated PDF. How do you stop it from opening in Preview or Acrobat? Dare I recommend that Apple employ a Type and Creator code to link these PDFs to Apples word processor? Or would they go for an altered extension, say .apdf? That would make sending the files out to others a bit less convenient (youd have to change the extension). But Im sure that the Apple software engineers could find a great solution to this conundrum. And make it look Keynote-beautiful in the process.

But should Apple do it? What do they stand to gain? Independence from Microsoft, the ability to chart their own productivity software destiny. To say nothing of better relations with Adobe, for an Apple-based word processor that saves directly to PDF would go a long way in helping make the PDF even more universal on the Mac. What do they stand to lose? Further ground with Microsoft, and a lot of face if their new program flops.

I, for one, would gladly plunk down $99 for an Apple-written, PDF-writing, well-designed word processor. And, for the sake of nostalgia, can I take a moment to recommend the name MacWrite X?
post #6 of 43
Thread Starter 

My thoughts exactly Kirkland. And I would lean toward keeping the .pdf extension and having Apple do some system level way of recognizing the Apple word processor created .pdf.

Personally, I think Apple should just give it away for macs and release a PC version for a nominal charge.

They probably won't, however, and instead hold out the threat of releasing a PC version in order to get consideration from microsoft on things like media player.

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post #7 of 43
First of all, note that any Mac OS X application can generate PDFs with the "print to PDF" functionality in the print dialogs.

Now, let's think about what an MS Office competitor needs, functionally. First, DOC is a container format, like MOV and MPEG-4. That means that it's a format into which you can put files of other formats, and so embed images, graphs, etc. in your Word document. It's also useful for versioning support.

OS X supports a system-wide container format. It's even portable across most every operating system, and far easier to parse than something like DOC: The bundle. In this scheme a document is really a folder the way an application in OS X is really a folder, and then saving versions and embedded images and whatever you want is really just a matter of adding files and subfolders. In fact, the Apple frameworks are stored this way, with versioning built in via subfolders. There's little to no parsing involved because the filesystem does all of that for you, and similarly the odds of a file getting corrupt (as DOC files all to often do) is much lower. And the methods to recognize and implement them are already built into OS X, and used widely.

Files within the bundle (individual WP documents) should probably be XML based. That standard is truly open, text-based, it can be read and written by free, open-source libraries, and it's already used by Keynote.

I personally hope OS X goes that way. Among the available options, it's the most reliable, extensible, and usable by third parties.
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post #8 of 43
Quote:
Files within the bundle (individual WP documents) should probably be XML based. That standard is truly open, text-based, it can be read and written by free, open-source libraries, and it's already used by Keynote.

And strangely enough XML is the format for Office--more or less.

.PDF is lousy format for editing and modification. It was developed as a display format and leveraged into much more by years of Adobe persistance.
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post #9 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Nordstrodamus
My thoughts exactly Kirkland. And I would lean toward keeping the .pdf extension and having Apple do some system level way of recognizing the Apple word processor created .pdf.

Easy to do in Mac OS X: just assign a Type & Creator code.

Quote:
Personally, I think Apple should just give it away for macs and release a PC version for a nominal charge.

Ugh, no. I want Cocoa goodness, with full System Services support, Quartz Extreme stuff (find some way to use it), Cocoa typography, etc. None of that is portable to the lesser platform.

Kirk
post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Now, let's think about what an MS Office competitor needs, functionally. First, DOC is a container format, like MOV and MPEG-4. That means that it's a format into which you can put files of other formats, and so embed images, graphs, etc. in your Word document. It's also useful for versioning support.

OS X supports a system-wide container format. It's even portable across most every operating system, and far easier to parse than something like DOC: The bundle. In this scheme a document is really a folder the way an application in OS X is really a folder, and then saving versions and embedded images and whatever you want is really just a matter of adding files and subfolders. In fact, the Apple frameworks are stored this way, with versioning built in via subfolders. There's little to no parsing involved because the filesystem does all of that for you, and similarly the odds of a file getting corrupt (as DOC files all to often do) is much lower. And the methods to recognize and implement them are already built into OS X, and used widely.

Files within the bundle (individual WP documents) should probably be XML based. That standard is truly open, text-based, it can be read and written by free, open-source libraries, and it's already used by Keynote.

I personally hope OS X goes that way. Among the available options, it's the most reliable, extensible, and usable by third parties.

I'd love to see a document format based on bundles with XML gluing it all together. I just worry about compatibility. Word processor documents get sent around a lot. We need something that's as easy to make universally open-able as possible. PDF files can contain movies and other content. Perhaps the PDF format itself could work as a wrapper -- which would contain a straight PDF version for non-Mac viewing, while also containing the bundled components that Apple's word processor would in turn open for editing purposes. This would, of course, make the files large. But large and compatible is preferable to small and Mac-only.

Your comments about versioning support through sub-folders of a bundled file are compelling as well. I would love to have a reliable, stable version-tracking system like that available. Word does "versions," but like Master Documents and multi-section documents adding versions to your .doc files increases dramatically the chances of your files failing at critical moments.

I would instantly cough up cash for an Apple word processor that could read Word files, write PDF/RTF/DOC, had footnote, bullet list, paragraph and character styles, in-line spell checking, Cocoa typography, footnote and endnote support and if possible commenting features. None of the non-Word word processors on the Mac cut it. They're all too limited in terms of features (Nisus) or they're so ugly as to be unusable (Mellel).

I want Keynote for words. How it saves documents is sorta secondary to that.

Some other cool things an Apple word processor could do:
  • Integrate with Address Book for mailing lists.
  • Link to Mail and iChat to let you send your files to friends and co-workers immediately.
  • Place inline iMovies via QuickTime, and be aware of your iMovie files.
  • Same with music and iTunes.
  • Place any picture in iPhoto by letting your browse your iPhoto albums.
  • Set a file's Color Label in the Save dialogue -- actually, Apple should set it up so every program can do this.
  • Recognize your Font Book font groups, and list fonts properly (Adobe Garamond, with a submenu for subfonts, instead of each subfont on its own like in Word).

I would kill for such a Mac-centric and Mac-aware word processing platform. It might not make my novel any better, but it would make it more fun to write.

Kirk
post #11 of 43
PDF should never be seen by end users. I hate PDF.
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post #12 of 43
That's a fairly outlandish opinion, Aquatic. PDF is one of the most flexible, most impressive content storage, archival and delivery systems out there. I, for one, would hate my job were it not for PDF. It's the best thing since grilled cheese sandwiches.
post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Kirkland
...........It's the best thing since grilled cheese sandwiches.

And twice as fattening....
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post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by cowerd
And strangely enough XML is the format for Office--more or less.

It follows the letter of XML, perhaps, but not the spirit.

As for Kirkland's portability concerns, the whole idea of using bundles is that all you have to deal with are folders, text files (XML) and things like JPEGs - all of these are supported on damn near everything. It would be incredibly easy to add support to an application on another platform, and failing that you could always just poke around, find version 1.3 yourself in the "Versions/1.3" folder, and open the individual files in whatever will open them. It sure beats opening a DOC file in a text editor.
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post #15 of 43
The problem with dig-in-and-find it is that what you find will be just the text. Since most likely it'll be linked to some sort of XML schema for formatting and integration of non-text components, that's not always going to be the most useful.

I think the OpenOffice-like idea of document bundles is worth pursuing. I just want some sort of formatting-preserving cross-platform way of distributing my data. PDF fills that bill perfectly.

Kirk
post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by cowerd
And strangely enough XML is the format for Office--more or less.

.PDF is lousy format for editing and modification. It was developed as a display format and leveraged into much more by years of Adobe persistance.

XML is the format for Office--less. There is no more. Microsoft mixes proprietary formatting with XML. Conversion of Office documents to pure XML runs the risk of losing your formatting. Do you expect any less from the Redmond monopoly?
post #17 of 43
Another AppleOffice thread...I just can't stay out of 'em!

If Apple decides on a full frontal assault on Redmond, it had better go with a compatible file format on BOTH platforms.

This doesn't necesarily mean adopting .doc or even .pdf (which I don't think will work.) I think Apple needs to roll out a next-generation XML-based file format, and then offer the frameworks for implementing it free of charge to OpenOffice on both platforms, Nisus, Mellel and Mariner on the Mac Side and Corel and StarOffice on the PC side.

And introduce a .WXL (my name..) to .doc converter for the Office users.

Make sure the format offers easy-to-use advantages .doc doesn't, and get the standard approved for use by governments.
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post #18 of 43
Frank, since a MacWrite X or whatever would never have more than 3% market share or so, I can't imagine that Corel, or even the OpenOffice bunch, would care much about supporting the file format.

However, so long as it can output proper RTF, DOC or PDF, then the rest of the world can read my work. Can't imagine that Apple would leave such a feature out.
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Kirkland
Frank, since a MacWrite X or whatever would never have more than 3% market share or so, I can't imagine that Corel, or even the OpenOffice bunch, would care much about supporting the file format.

However, so long as it can output proper RTF, DOC or PDF, then the rest of the world can read my work. Can't imagine that Apple would leave such a feature out.

That's where I disagree. Microsoft owns 90% of the office suite market.
That would mean an AppleOffice suite would instantly have thirty percent or more of the non-MS office market. OpenOffice and others aren't getting anywhere by themselves. If they were smart, they'd work with Apple.

Of course, Corel's never been described as smart....\
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post #20 of 43
The open office format is an open XML specification released by OASIS (whose members include MSFT strangely enough). It is possibly going to be adopted by the EU as an official document format for all government correspondence and archival.

http://www.oasis-open.org/committees..._abbrev=office

If Apple make a word processor that doesn't speak OpenOffice.org I'll be very disappointed.

Someone said that .app-like Bundles are cross-platform but they're not. They appear on other platforms as folders. The OO.o format is a zipped folder which gives you the same benefits (and much smaller size since xml compressed well) without that major drawback.

For an intro to the format: http://www-106.ibm.com/developerwork...ary/x-think15/
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post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by stupider...likeafox
The open office format is an open XML specification released by OASIS (whose members include MSFT strangely enough). It is possibly going to be adopted by the EU as an official document format for all government correspondence and archival.

http://www.oasis-open.org/committees..._abbrev=office

If Apple make a word processor that doesn't speak OpenOffice.org I'll be very disappointed.

Someone said that .app-like Bundles are cross-platform but they're not. They appear on other platforms as folders. The OO.o format is a zipped folder which gives you the same benefits (and much smaller size since xml compressed well) without that major drawback.

For an intro to the format: http://www-106.ibm.com/developerwork...ary/x-think15/

You beat me to this (though I was unaware of the EU movements here). I think the best thing to come out of the OpenOffice project is an open, well-defined file format. Theoretically, anyone, with any code base could read/write this format. AppleWorks could be converted to use this format.

I am not so sure about the OpenOffice code base. Possibly big and bloated. But the real issue (as pointed out by many) is the file format.

Wise companies (and governments) would standardize on an open file format. Then let the competition begin.

Apple DOES have a change against Microsoft Word. Microsoft is currently reaping monopoly profits on this product (among others). There is a lot of room for Apple to produce a superior product, for much less $$, and gain a foot hold.

Maybe even sell a Windows version. Who knows.
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by stupider...likeafox
Someone said that .app-like Bundles are cross-platform but they're not. They appear on other platforms as folders. The OO.o format is a zipped folder which gives you the same benefits (and much smaller size since xml compressed well) without that major drawback.

Hmmm... the Finder in 10.3 now has built-in zip/unzip capabilities, which could possibly (maybe) be used to help apps deal with these zipped bundle-like things. Curiouser and curiouser...

I'd love to see an Apple word processor. Rather than create yet another file format, I'd like to see them use OpenOffice as it's default load/save format. Word .doc support would have to be there as well, but I think throwing their weight behind a "standard" "open" format would be a good move for Apple, and a good move for the format itself (which in turn is another good move for Apple and other apps that support it!)

Neil.
a.k.a. Arnel
post #23 of 43
I suppose the OpenOffice.org file formats would be good. They're certainly open enough to be a baseline. I, philosophically, like a lot about OpenOffice, and on Windows it's not a bad set of programs. Sadly, on the Mac, it's utterly unusable.

Though given the OS's support of it, RTF might be a more practical "standard" document type for Apple to utilize. Not that that's the filetype I would want to see employed.

Kirk
post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Kirkland
Frank, since a MacWrite X or whatever would never have more than 3% market share or so, I can't imagine that Corel, or even the OpenOffice bunch, would care much about supporting the file format.

However, so long as it can output proper RTF, DOC or PDF, then the rest of the world can read my work. Can't imagine that Apple would leave such a feature out.

You're forgetting that RTF, DOC and PDF export are already built into OS X (DOC's in there as of Panther). Apple would have to work to not support them.

So the interesting thing is the native document format, which would have to be more powerful and flexible than those more limited export formats.
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post #25 of 43
Thread Starter 
I know that everyone is thinking XML, especially Microsoft which wants to do their typical "embrace, extend, extinguish" approach or, in this case, "promote, pretend, propriate."

The reason I think PDF might be the way to go as the native format is simply because the vast majority of computer users are still idiots. Having the ability to export to PDF isn't good enough. You need to be able to tell someone, "Use this processor and whatever files you make can be directly sent to anyone and they should be able to read them."

BTW, whats the deal with "Microsoft" being replaced with a bunch of smileys if you spell it with a "$" instead of an "S"?

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post #26 of 43
Quote:
The reason I think PDF might be the way to go as the native format is simply because the vast majority of computer users are still idiots. Having the ability to export to PDF isn't good enough. You need to be able to tell someone, "Use this processor and whatever files you make can be directly sent to anyone and they should be able to read them."

What happens when another idiot needs to edit the file?
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post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
You're forgetting that RTF, DOC and PDF export are already built into OS X (DOC's in there as of Panther). Apple would have to work to not support them.

I hadn't forgotten that at all, actually. I just assumed everyone else knew that as well. My statement was more of a truism than anything else.
post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by cowerd
What happens when another idiot needs to edit the file?

That is a good question, though perhaps not as much of an issue as one might think. I don't know about you all, but most of the word processing documents I receive day in and day out are for viewing, not for editing. The only time I tend to edit another person's document, and have them edit mine, is when we're collaborating. And for all sorts of reasons you'd want to be using the same software as your collaboration partner, not just the same document format.
post #29 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by cowerd
What happens when another idiot needs to edit the file?

That's going to be a problem with any format, but at least with PDF you solve the biggest problem- being sure other people can read your documents.

If you want someone to be able to edit it, what are your options?

1. Find out what software they have and try to export the doc so they can use it.

2. Point them to a free ap that will edit your doc and hope they don't mind the trouble of installing it.

3. Convince them to buy the same software you have.

4. Concede to the microsoft monopoly, use MS word, and blame them for not following the herd.

Besides, PDF provides for form filling, which is most of what I would ever need to edit other people's documents for anyway.

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post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Nordstrodamus
Besides, PDF provides for form filling, which is most of what I would ever need to edit other people's documents for anyway.

Good point. This would be perfect for many environments, particularly areas involving contracts and other legal documents: it would allow Person X to create a document with secured, uneditable boiler plate, but still allow Person Y to contribute their portion of the document.
post #31 of 43
This whole thread has started me thinking.

Thinking about things like the ratio of write-to-read of documents.

Thinking about document work flows.

Thinking about editability, collaboration and version control of documents.

It seems to me that Word has grown by simply adding features. But every once in a while, there comes a time to stop and re-think the whole thing. I have to assume that this is the way Apple is thinking about this particular piece of software. Asking the good questions.

The reason I say this is the evidence I see in the past of products they produce. Its as if they look at a product and say "What do people REALLY want to do with this?" And then build it. Only then do we find a product that has quite a few less features, but somehow does (almost) everything I need.

Mail? iCal? iPhoto? Safari?

Not perfect applications, but seemingly do what I am suggesting.
post #32 of 43
Should we maybe indulge in setting an ultimatum? A date which, if it passes Apple-office-less, will be the death of all Apple-office speculation. The other case, of course, would mean the contrary.
post #33 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by der Kopf
Should we maybe indulge in setting an ultimatum? A date which, if it passes Apple-office-less, will be the death of all Apple-office speculation. The other case, of course, would mean the contrary.

How about tomorrow?
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post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by der Kopf
Should we maybe indulge in setting an ultimatum? A date which, if it passes Apple-office-less, will be the death of all Apple-office speculation. The other case, of course, would mean the contrary.

As one of the leading posters in virtually every AppleOffice thread, I'll bite...

In my view, the point right now is not whether there will be an AppleOffice, but whether it will include a Word Processor and Spreadsheet - and how Redmond will respond if it does.

Der Kopf, while you may be tiring of the many AppleOffice threads, the fact is that RIGHT NOW we have AppleOffice software in the Presentation, Database, Websurfing and Communication categories.

The last three have meant that MS has never deployed Access on the Mac and has had to discontinue IE and Outlook Express.

Furthermore, Filemaker has announced that they will deploy a Project Management solution soon. No MS Project on the Mac, ever.

With so many products recently updated, it's hard to believe that Apple has a lot of hardware to promote at MWSF. Keynote was released at MWSF 2003. If Apple has a WP or Spreadsheet to unveil, you'll only have to put up with these threads for two more months.
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post #35 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Nordstrodamus
I think it's probably inevitable (and welcome) that Apple will introduce an office suite. It occurred to me that if they made their default format PDF they would largely eliminate concerns about compatibility.

At least you could be sure that people in the PC world could read your documents without having to export them.

Reading them would be another matter, but I can see a collaboration with Adobe to make sure that all PC PDF reader installations also install a PDF to word converter.

I'm not sure as to whether a spreadsheet and presentation format could also be in PDF, but don't see why not.

yep. I'd rather use some [open] XML-based format. Then again, we've all but forgotten about .cwk. Appleworks! It is a format, they could just extend it. Why not RTF?
* It's closed.
* It's developed by Microsoft, which wouldn't be appealing to MS avoiders.
* It's big! An XML based file could be much more efficent.
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post #36 of 43
Quote:
That's going to be a problem with any format, but at least with PDF you solve the biggest problem- being sure other people can read your documents.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but one of the reasons I use a WP to generate text is so people can edit and change my documents. If I just wanted people to read them, I'd send paper or a plain text email.

Quote:
If you want someone to be able to edit it, what are your options?
1. Find out what software they have and try to export the doc so they can use it.

And we seem to back to square one with the idiot user issue don't we?
Quote:
2. Point them to a free ap that will edit your doc and hope they don't mind the trouble of installing it.

See above. Also nothing like gaining marketshare by making things harder.
Quote:
3. Convince them to buy the same software you have.

You think the other 90+% of computer users would do that?
Quote:
4. Concede to the microsoft monopoly, use MS word, and blame them for not following the herd.

Using a known file format is not caving into a monopoly. Some time back people used to call that smart. Think Apple caved into the Adobe monopoly by making .PDF ubiquitous. Or was it a good call considering their trad market of designer?
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post #37 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Kirkland
And for all sorts of reasons you'd want to be using the same software as your collaboration partner, not just the same document format.

Comments like this make me sad.

This is exactly what software monopolists want you to think, yet it is totally untrue, except to the extent that they make it so with intentional incompatabilities.

The best thing that Apple is doing right now is using open standards that allow people to use whatever tool is right for the job.

The reason that MS Word (and the OO.o clone of it) is such a horrifically bad app is because it has expanded to extinguish the market for what should be hundreds, if not thousands, of separate, competing applications that share a file format but are tailored for different users, just like iTunes, Soundtrack and others all use the same audio formats.
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post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by stupider...likeafox
Comments like this make me sad.

This is exactly what software monopolists want you to think, yet it is totally untrue, except to the extent that they make it so with intentional incompatabilities.

The best thing that Apple is doing right now is using open standards that allow people to use whatever tool is right for the job.

The reason that MS Word (and the OO.o clone of it) is such a horrifically bad app is because it has expanded to extinguish the market for what should be hundreds, if not thousands, of separate, competing applications that share a file format but are tailored for different users, just like iTunes, Soundtrack and others all use the same audio formats.

Amen.
post #39 of 43
As a scientist I love PDFs Getting articles meant getting to the library taking copies that washed out grayscale images and eliminated all colors. Ending up with piles of paper

Now I download articles from the net as PDF save them in orderly ways on my computer. Make nice sharp printouts even in color if I need to and if I lose a print out I do not have to go to the library again

Is PDF perfect? No, but what is? (excluding some Speyside single malts)
post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by stupider...likeafox
Comments like this make me sad.

This is exactly what software monopolists want you to think, yet it is totally untrue, except to the extent that they make it so with intentional incompatabilities.

The best thing that Apple is doing right now is using open standards that allow people to use whatever tool is right for the job.

The reason that MS Word (and the OO.o clone of it) is such a horrifically bad app is because it has expanded to extinguish the market for what should be hundreds, if not thousands, of separate, competing applications that share a file format but are tailored for different users, just like iTunes, Soundtrack and others all use the same audio formats.

While it would be nice if there were a universal word processor format, it's just not so, and likely never will be -- unless you count RTF or DOC. And for better or worse, I need a format that is totally compatible between myself, my editor and anyone else with whom I am collaborating. That's not me giving into a monopoly, that's me putting my needs as a writer ahead of my philosophical desire for open technology.

The document format is where Microsoft's true power lies. And while I will embrace and use an Apple word processor, I don't see it ever displacing the unassailable DOC.
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