When I got home from work today, a copy of Office: Mac 2008 was waiting for me. I must admit that part of me has been dreading this update, and other very impatiently and anxiously waiting. I wasn’t really sure what all to expect. I have some friends that work in the Mac BU at Microsoft, and I know they’ve been working their asses off for the past many months – mostly because I haven’t seen a one of them. I just hoped that the resulting product would be good. For reference, I view the (now venerable) Mac Word 5.1 as one of the best products the MacBU ever created, and the immediately following version (Word 6.0) as the most horrific piece of shit ever poorly converted from a strictly win32 background.
Â The Mac BU has kept up it’s tradition and come out with a fine product. I’ve only really played with Word and a little bit of Excel this evening – no stressors, justÂ perusingÂ the interface to get a sense of how all the new stuff works. It will take a little getting used to, but it looks like it’ll work very well indeed.
Â One part of this whole thing that I was really curious about was the match-up to the ribbon thingy in the Win32 Office 2007 suite. That particular little bit of UI candy really screwed with me. The Mac variation is that band of tab-like buttons underneath a classic Mac OS X menu bar. It’s somewhat dynamic/animation-y, so it fits in nicely to the Leopard style interface. At the same time, it’s pretty obvious what it’s about, and the core “where the hell do I find…” functionality is all still very much there (menus, thank god – in their normal place). Maybe I’m just another conservative software guy – it’s amazing how conservative most folks who work with software are about their interfaces. So take all my snarking “win32 Office 2007 sucks” comments with some salt. Or a bottle of wine – whatever floats your boat.
MacBU did a nice job here. I’m looking forward to using this, even as it’s becoming less critical to my day to day needs. Heh – of course I’m curious what sort of damage I can do with pivot charts/data aggregation visualizations in Excel. I’ve got a document that works in Excel 2003 and crashes Excel 2007… I don’t even know if it’ll open with Mac Excel 2008, but I’m looking forward to trying it out.Â