Re: Decoupling GNOME Office?

Mike Sangrey wrote:

>I have often thought that a word processor could be modularized along the 
>lines of features.  In other words, the simple core would provide all the 
>capabilities one would need to write memos, letters, that sort of thing.  But, 
>at a certain point the person wants `styles'.  So, "click"..."click", enable 
>the `style' plugin and styles and their prerequisites come into play.  Later, 
>they need `tables'.  "click" again.  Other features like, equations, 
>versioning (ie. margin bars and possibly the self storage of the diffs), etc., 
>would be available.  And so on.
>I've thought this would remove the objection, "This beast is just to hard to 

That's the sort of aim Microsoft had in mind with Office 2000, where
application menus only show a limited subset of functionality by
default, and any "hidden" menu items you use from time to time are
promoted to that visible subset.

Unfortunately, their particular implementation means that you often
can't find the function you're looking for because everything keeps
moving around, and most people end up switching off all that clever
stuff so they can just see all the menu items together again! 

There's also a more fundamental issue with the "add to the GUI on
demand" model-- if you can't see a function, how do you know the
software is actually capable of doing it?  There are certainly a few
options for solving this particular problem, but again, my own
experience with Word 2000 is that "I know this feature must be here
somewhere because Word 97 could do it"-- I'd be pretty stuck if I hadn't
used previous versions of the software, and it also means there are
probably umpteen new features in Word 2000 that I'll never discover. 
One or two of them might even be useful  :o)


Calum Benson, Usability Engineer       Sun Microsystems Ireland

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems

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