Busy MS devs

Great post here comparing .net devs to American tourists.

The point that .net devs are so busy trying to keep up with the release rate of MS technologies is well made I think. Joel calls it ‘Fire and Motion’.

I think we in Excel development have been spared this to an extent. Of course the surrounding technologies have been changing rapidly, but the core Excel stuff hasn’t ‘changed’. Some parts have expanded, some new stuff has been added, but nothing really ‘changed’. Until the ribbon of course.

Many of us are still trading off our Excel 97 knowledge, how many new worksheet functions since then? dunno, none? a few? How many new features? a few, error checking, a few other bits and bobs. How many broken features? none, I’m pretty sure Excel 2003 copes with pretty much anything from 97, and maybe 95.

That core consistency has enabled me to really improve my design skills, and skill up on complementary technologies that offer a massive bang per buck for clients.

With Excel 2007 the .net hamster wheel rode roughshod over our calm consistent world.

Was it a one off or the start of a new trend? Neither I would say, its Office moving into line with many other MS technologies.

Whats going to be in Office 2010 (I reckon the OOXML stuff will put it back from the rumoured 2009)?

Will it be the same UI as 2007? a face saving return to something a bit like menus, but different enough to have a new name? A new interface paradigm?

I really don’t know (but I have my suspicions), what do you think?



2 Responses to “Busy MS devs”

  1. Stephane Rodriguez Says:

    “Whats going to be in Office 2010 (I reckon the OOXML stuff will put it back from the rumoured 2009)?”

    Perhaps it will be pushed back one year, but I don’t think so. A cursory read of ECMA responses beind studied this week in Geneva (written by Microsoft, it goes without saying) shows that Microsoft is conceding almost nothing except in a few heavily publicized cases that happen to coincide with the expected changes in Office 2009. An example of that is the removal of VML. (I think Microsoft will just hide VML under the carpet by making it just a DrawingML namespace, thinking that nobody will see the trick. And they’ll be about right to think so since nobody will be able to afford implementing details like that anyway until a number of years given all what needs to be implemented just to be on par with older formats). It’s indeed fire and motion.

    The problem is this logic does not cut it anymore in the online days. Microsoft Office is tumbling on its weight. What I mean? The equivalent of ultra-fast Excel spreadsheet we used to know in the offline world, is ultra-fast and thin-layered mashups of the online/collaboration world. But given Microsoft’s bloat (6,000 pages just to enumerate the individual elements, probably 600,000 for a proper specification), a consequence is that this bloat is with every new release less compelling. A hard reset is needed, but that would kill a cash cow…

  2. Marcus Says:

    That same perception is also often reflected by the IT dept to “Excel Developers”. All you know as a developer is Excel and some VBA, both of which are Mickey Mouse. The only thing missing is the Hawaiian tourist shirt.

    Surely as there are myopic MSO developers whose technical reach is constrained to Excel/VBA, there are those who leverage peripheral technologies. And while these have evolved, they’ve been less of a moving target than .Net with MSO has. In this context, we’ve had relatively easy.

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