Over the past few months I’ve been closely following Jensen Harris’ blog
regarding the development of the new Office 12 UI which is a radical departure
from the classic menus and toolbars UI’s of today. In fact, it’s clear that the
transformation of the Office UI to version 12 has been nothing short of a
massive undertaking. If you’re at all interested in UI development I highly
recommend checking it out. I’d personally like to thank Jensen for taking the
time and effort to provide such detailed information as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed
reading his blog and look forward to more.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m even writing about a blog related to
Office 12? It’s simple really, every time Microsoft ships a new version
of Office almost universally the rest of the Windows development world rushes to
update their UI to look just like it. Why? It’s pretty simple, the ubiquity of
Office dicates what our customers will want their custom built applications to
look like and therefore they’ll demand the Office style.
Now the 64K question…
Will Microsoft provide this new Office 12 UI technology for all
Windows developers to benefit from or will they repeat the CommandBars
performance and keep it all to themselves?
If I were a betting man I’d say we’re probably in for a repeat of the
CommandBars situation which would be a shame. Look, here we are years after
Office 2000 initially came out and CommandBars are still not part of the core OS
common controls. Why is that? The competitive advantage those controls afforded
MS has all but evaporated and in fact there are companies who already have
libraries prepared which match the new Office 12 ribbon UI and it’s only in Beta
Now, my idea of how you can help. If you’re reading this blog and you develop
in Delphi, BCB, Visual
Basic, Visual C++, C# or whatever your Windows language/tool of choice is and
you write Windows client applications that you’d some day like to look like
Office 12 (and you probably will) then blog about it, talk to your Microsoft
Rep, comment over on Jensen’s blog. Whatever you do make it known to Microsoft
that it’s important to you and your customers that you have native OS API (to be
perfectly clear no, I’m not talking .NET) level access to the latest UI
paradigms coming out of Redmond.
commented on Jensen’s blog to which he was kind enough to reply. Thanks
So as a software development community whether your a Delphi or Visual Studio
user let’s make Microsoft deliver on their mantra of “Developers, Developers,
Developers” and afford all of us the ability to deliver state-of-the-art UI
across all Windows applications not just Office 12.