funny vid

Spotted this on Andrew W’s blog. Its a rather poignant and amusing video about developing for Office 2007.

There are a few things here worth mentioning. First, to get the bleedin obvious out of the way, I’m always going to laugh at anything that pokes fun at the ribbon, and/or the numpties who fumbled it out into a live product.

Second when he quotes the ‘mantra’, user in control of UI. I think we all agree on this, but I suspect we disagree on the how. Me I think control is simple customisation and simple reset (eg Excel 95-2003), the effluent team think user control is the user doing exactly what the ribbon ui blunderons tell them, or learn a whole new language to make a trivial change.

Anyway thats old ground, all sides think they are right and have the evidence to prove it.

I’d have to disagree with casting the ribbon team as some shadowy gangster type. Whilst they certainly have that level of empathy with their victims, I think something like this would be a more accurate portrayal.

Also did you get the dig about working on something easy, like deployment, with VSTO? tee hee!

Its great to see the product teams acknowledging the issues their users face. Although in fairness I think the VSTO team are pretty well connected to their users, The VSTO team is bunch of VS devs with a focus on Office, working on improving the interconnections between those 2 technologies. And their customers? A bunch of VS devs with and interest in Office….

Contrast with the Ribbon team who have probably 10 minutes real world Office experience between them trying to create a marketable User interface for a product they don’t understand for a target audience they dont know at all. Its no wonder they made such a pigs ear of it, and the VSTO deployment story gets better by the day.

Now if HM had made that video in the UK, the competition (is there any?) would have been up in arms saying why aren’t they working on fixing deployment instead of squandering tax payers money on on a completely frivolous project.

have a good (bank holiday where appropriate) weekend



2 Responses to “funny vid”

  1. Harlan Grove Says:

    User control – except when the user is a developer.

    Some old character mode spreadsheets (but not Lotus 123) allowed ‘developers’ to hide the product’s own UI completely and replace it with a completely customized one. The original Lotus Symphony and Borland Quattro Pro, for two examples. Excel has allowed the same since at least Excel 5/95. But apparently no longer. When using Excel or any other main Office application, it seems there’ll be no hiding what it is.

    Tangent: I’m a dedicated long-time kludger. I can live without elegance in order to achieve results. *IF* the custom ribbon tab in question had an assigned keyboard accelerator/shortcut , wouldn’t it be possible to select it using SendKeys? Or would New! & Improved! Excel bounce back to the previously visible ribbon tab as soon as the macro ended?

  2. jonpeltier Says:

    Excel knows what tab you need to use. It even has special contextual tabs which pop up whenever you need them. Anyone who disagrees has probably used Excel 2007, and been frustrated by the heavy-handedness of the ribbon.

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