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Comments on: QuickOffice v7 Delivers Native File Formats

Cutting Edge Software has released a public beta of Quickoffice Premier Version 7.0. The new release is the first and only available Palm OS Office suite to include support for native PC-created Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint file formats. Support for native file formats is provided for files saved on expansion storage cards, or those received via infrared beaming, through Bluetooth file transfers, or as e-mail attachments.
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No...

Impartial @ 2/27/2003 11:39:11 AM #
I don't think this "antiquates" the older conversion techniques. Native file formats take up around 3-5 times as much space as an efficiently converted one, and you don't get any benefits on the Palm from the extra data. Unless there's some reason you can't or don't want to convert the file, it's better to do it the old way.

---------------------------------------
You may imagine that this is a witty statement, if you like.
RE: No...
quiksilver @ 2/27/2003 11:49:22 AM #
Disagree with your comment. The whole point is to avoid the trouble of having to have files filtered through a "conduit" before they can be read by DocsToGo. This way, you can have files sent to you by email (assuming you are logged on via Bluetooth or WiFi), beamed from someone else, or in some other form other than through a hotsync, and still be able to read and use it.

If this works as promised, it'll be swell. Already DocsToGo's conversion software is the envy of PPC users, who lose their formatting when they sync back to their PCs. The only thing they have to brag about is the ability to read "native" files. So DocsToGo Premier will really sock it to them if it reads "native" files, PLUS leads the pack in terms of document synching fidelity (minimal loss of formatting). Then this Pocket Word/Excel snobbery will finally have to end.

RE: No...
Navamske @ 2/27/2003 12:01:24 PM #
This doesn't necessarily "antiquate" anything, but it provides an alternative that might be useful to some people, like me.

I sync only with my home PC. If I create or work on a Word file while away from that PC, I'd like to be able to put that file on an SD card and then port it to my traveling laptop or my office PC. Apparently that functionality is what this new format offers, and I think it's a significant improvement. I don't want to have to "convert" Palm files before I can use them on the PC. I find this analogous to the situation I had with the Veo camera for the SD slot. It claimed to save its images in JPG format, but the truth was that the images became JPGs only when you sync'd your device. That made the camera pretty much useless to me. I wanted instant JPGs that I could then move to another SD card and then to a PC.

If I understand this correctly, this new format could eliminate the need for a "special" Palm OS-based word processor like WordSmith -- that is, for people like me.

RE: No...
enjolras @ 2/27/2003 12:01:49 PM #
Keep in mind that this is a Quickoffice release (not DocsToGo). Docs to Go (According to their press release) are still several months out from actually releasing their native format support.

RE: No...
TobyG @ 2/27/2003 12:25:39 PM #
IMO, it's a step forward and two steps back. Yes, now some can read native Word/Excel format documents, _but_ it apparently will destroy the formatting just like PocketWord and PocketExcel do on the PPC if it doesn't support everything in the document. Hopefully, they'll continue to refine it and solve this problem and push Dataviz to keep up more quickly.

RE: No...
james_sorenson @ 2/27/2003 12:46:21 PM #
Two steps back? No matter how you look at it, this is a step forward. Maybe not as far forward as you hoped, but there definately wasn't any loss of functionality with this release!

This version suppports both the CONDUIT style as well as the native-import method. I use CONDUIT for files that I keep synchronized on my desktop. I use the native capability for reading email attachments (cooooool!) and for receiving files from PPC and other desktops. It is really sweet to be able to carry my little SD reader around and be able to grab and use on any MS Office document or spreadsheet from the people I work with as I travel around for my job.

Try this with Snapper Mail. The poor PPC weenies are truly missing out!

Jim

-------
James Sorenson

RE: No...
enjolras @ 2/27/2003 1:08:35 PM #
It does not touch your original document. Once you open it in Quickoffice the file is converted into the Quickoffice representation for that file. You can beam, send, or otherwise manipulate it just like any other Quickoffice file on your handheld.

The original is left intact. So while you lose the formatting in the Palm version, the fidelity of the original is not lost.

RE: No...
GregGaub @ 2/27/2003 1:12:40 PM #
I think "destroy the formatting" is a little harsh.
While it might not preserve every little bloated details of the original, it most certainly does NOT destroy the formatting of most Word files. Have you tried it? Which types of formatting (because I KNOW it's not ALL types) are lost during conversion? I'm not saying there aren't any, but to denounce something so completely like that without specific examples tells me that you haven't actually tried it.

And hey, their award winning desktop conversion/synchronization is STILL THERE! So use the native file viewing sparingly, when it's absolutely necessary, and leave the rest to the desktop conversion stuff. But having something at all when you need it is a whole lot better than being SOL. ;-)



-- SeaPUG: http://www.seapug.com --

RE: No...
TobyG @ 2/27/2003 2:19:43 PM #
"The original is left intact. So while you lose the formatting in the Palm version, the fidelity of the original is not lost."

And the point is that this creates a worse situation in that now you have two copies of the document to reconcile. Despite DocsToGo not being able to use native Word files yet, you can still modify the text of the documents and when syncing them back to the desktop, everything else will remain the same. If one is receiving Word or Excel files with the purpose of making changes/revisions and then resubmitting them to the sender, the sender may not be getting back what they expected. Don't get me wrong, as I said, it's a step forward from the perspective of finally being able to modify native documents (eliminating an advantage of PocketOffice). However, it's also two steps back from the perspective of roundtripability (which ironically has been the advantage over PocketOffice stuff until now).

RE: No...
TobyG @ 2/27/2003 2:26:41 PM #
"I think "destroy the formatting" is a little harsh."

Perhaps, but I didn't just say "destroy the formatting". I said "destroy the formatting just like PocketWord and PocketExcel do on the PPC if it doesn't support everything in the document." Did you read what I wrote? I never said it would destroy all formatting in all (or even most) documents, and to misinterpret my statement so completely like that tells me that you haven't actually read it.

RE: No...
JKingGrim @ 2/27/2003 2:47:48 PM #
What formatting does it support anyway?

RE: No...
enjolras @ 2/27/2003 2:50:56 PM #
How is that a worse situation? You have two documents, but so what? Once you've opened it in Quickoffice and edit it, that should be your working document. For the vast majority of users, this will fully support their needs. It's not until you start talking about some more advanced features that this becomes a problem.

Even then, this provides tremendous utility for those who receive e-mail on their Palm. They can receive documents with Snapper mail (or any Exchange manager compliant program for that matter) and then actually open the native office format docs that they receive. Before this, when you received a doc you had to move it back to the PC to open it. If you wanted it on your Palm, you had to go through the conduit. This effectively side-steps that issue, making it possible for people to view (and yes edit) documents from wherever they are... While the solution isn't perfect, it's a BIG step forward for your average user (and in particular your connected mobile user).

RE: No...
TobyG @ 2/27/2003 3:15:30 PM #
"How is that a worse situation?"
Because: "You have two documents,"
"but so what?"
Well, now one of them is not in sync with the other content-wise.

"Once you've opened it in Quickoffice and edit it, that should be your working document."

I suppose it depends on what was in the original. If it's a relatively simple document, sure, that's fine. Personally, many of the documents I deal with have some sort of graphics or screenshots.

"For the vast majority of users, this will fully support their needs."

Sure, that's why I didn't say that it was flatly going backwards. It's also why I explicitly stated it was my opinion, and not a blanket statement of fact.

"It's not until you start talking about some more advanced features that this becomes a problem."

I really don't consider bitmaps in a document an advanced feature.

"Even then, this provides tremendous utility for those who receive e-mail on their Palm."

Provided they don't have something that Quickword will strip, and perhaps they'll need to return to someone else. I don't know about you, but when someone emails me a document, it's usually for the express purpose of evaluating/correcting/clarifying the content and then shipping it back to them (unless they're emailing me a screenshot of an error message because that's the only way they're comfortable doing it).

"They can receive documents with Snapper mail (or any Exchange manager compliant program for that matter) and then actually open the native office format docs that they receive. Before this, when you received a doc you had to move it back to the PC to open it. If you wanted it on your Palm, you had to go through the conduit. This effectively side-steps that issue, making it possible for people to view (and yes edit) documents from wherever they are... While the solution isn't perfect, it's a BIG step forward for your average user (and in particular your connected mobile user)."

Definitely. That was my point. It's a step forward...provided they don't have to deal with any documents which have things that Quickword doesn't support yet, and they don't have to send them back to someone else. Connectedness works both ways, IME. And to reiterate in case some missed this part the first time, this will be fixed eventually, no doubt. Hopefully it'll be soon and it'll push Dataviz to speed up their solution as well.

RE: No...
Altema @ 2/27/2003 3:16:52 PM #
It IS important to maintain as much of the original document formatting as possible. I just ran some tests with identical documents to verify formatting preservation with DTG, WS, and QW. The document was short but had several font changes, text centering, and graphics. I opened the documents in each of their applications on the Palm, added two words, then checked the effect on the desktop.

DTG was perfect, nothing was changed except the added words. Same with WordSmith, everything was perfectly preserved. I opened the QuickWord document and found that it had stripped naked of all graphics. The text format, font, font sizes, and centering were preserved, but all ten images were gone.

This is important because, for a road warrior, they would never be able to edit and reply any docs with graphics.

Convert both ways ?

Zuber @ 2/27/2003 11:43:50 AM #
Sounds promising, though I think I would wait to see what DocsToGo comes up with (also due to release something).

Does it allow you to convert a Quick Office format file to Native format so that you could send an existing document out as well ?

Zuber

RE: Convert both ways ?
GregGaub @ 2/27/2003 12:21:53 PM #
I'm not sure, but Word can read Quickword "native" files quite easily because they are basically HTML files. If you beam a Quickword PDB to a laptop, and rename it .doc, then Word will open it just fine, parsing the HTML into a formatted document. If you didn't know better, you'd hardly notice the difference. ;-)

-- SeaPUG: http://www.seapug.com --
RE: Convert both ways ?
Quaffy @ 2/28/2003 1:20:37 PM #
I agree we should wait to see what Dataviz comes up with. Haven't they been doing file conversions for all their 19 years?

Another Level of Complexity?

lwehrung @ 2/27/2003 12:26:12 PM #
I understand that some folks want the same functionality on the handheld that they have on the PC. At the same time, I do not understand why users want to complicate their lives.

Since the original PalmPilot, I have been using a handheld device. Plain text was the only thing that the original devices knew how to manage. As plain is it my be, it is really all that is necessary to organize information. I know bold, italics, underline, and other formatting adds to the experience, but it is not necessary. It just adds another level of complexity to a document that has to be managed.

For me, simplicity is key. I do not have the time to waste on formatting when it is not necessary, and just because I can do something does not mean I need to do something. Adding more and more features to the handheld just gets in the way of what needs to be done. For me, I just don't have the time. For those that seem to have the time, maybe there is something else out there you would rather be doing?

As always, just my humble opinion...

RE: Another Level of Complexity?
GregGaub @ 2/27/2003 1:05:56 PM #
IMHO, this isn't about a "better way to access data on your palm", it's about being able to do business work without being tethered to a PC or even a Laptop. Now, a road-warrior professional can truly be free of encumberances like a laptop, gathering, viewing, even editing and sending MS office files from their mobile device (Kyocera 7135, for example). His/Her collegues stuck in an office somewhere needn't even be aware of the fact that he's not also in an office somewhere, let alone have to cater to his special needs as a Palm user.

This is not another level of complexity, it's a solution to a very real and ever more common problem.

-- SeaPUG: http://www.seapug.com --

RE: Another Level of Complexity?
TobyG @ 2/27/2003 2:35:04 PM #
"His/Her collegues stuck in an office somewhere needn't even be aware of the fact that he's not also in an office somewhere, let alone have to cater to his special needs as a Palm user."

Until they have to send him a document with an embedded graphic of some sort (chart, screenshot, etc.), and expect it back. ;)

RE: Another Level of Complexity?
Altema @ 2/27/2003 2:39:57 PM #
This actually removes a level of complexity.

Old way: Get an email with a Word attachment, go back to desktop, copy from Palm or retrieve same email with desktop, edit, then send from desktop or save to Palm card and send from Palm.

New way: Get an email with a Word attachment, open directly in email with QuickWord, edit, then send from Palm.

RE: Another Level of Complexity?
JKingGrim @ 2/27/2003 2:52:40 PM #
Whats the use of complaining? If you don't like Quick Office, don't buy it. There are plenty of plain applications out there.

RE: Another Level of Complexity?
mj6798 @ 2/27/2003 3:34:27 PM #
Old way: Get an email with a Word attachment, go back to desktop, copy from Palm or retrieve same email with desktop, edit, then send from desktop or save to Palm card and send from Palm.

New way: return the mail unopened to the sender, tell them that you don't have MS Word or don't want to risk getting infected with a virus, and that they should send the file to you in some other format.


RE: Another Level of Complexity?
Altema @ 2/27/2003 4:10:08 PM #
"and that they should send the file to you in some other format."

Actually, that is a very good idea. You can send WordSmith documents back and forth all day in their native format and have a better solution as long as your counterparts also have the app.

I tested this soon after getting SnapperMail and it worked flawlessly. Looks like it should work with DTG native documents as well, but I have not tried that.

RE: Another Level of Complexity?
TDS Computer @ 2/28/2003 1:25:48 AM #
I think the original poster has an excellent point. The Palm OS has a level of simplicity that makes it easy for almost anyone to learn and understand. As I understand it, a vast majority of Palm users never really add any additional programs to their handheld, and just stick with the basics.
The beauty of the Palm OS is that we CAN add these features if we so desire. Some want the basics of a PIM device, and others want a laptop replacement that fits in the palm of their hand. The Palm OS offers both camps great options.
The PPC, in contrast, is complicated right out of the box. I am sure this scares away many prospective buyers just looking for an organizer.

Visit us at www.tdscomputer.com

the disease spreads

mj6798 @ 2/27/2003 3:27:31 PM #
MS Office formats are like a contagious disease: they start infecting an organization, and soon everybody has them. But your data then is locked up in a proprietary format and you have no choice but to keep buying Office and paying Microsoft over and over again.

If you are already infected with the MS Office disease, you don't have much of a choice, I suppose. But this is a painkiller, not a treatment.

Given that MS Office formats also keep changing and are a rather complex and fragile construct, I would worry that regular round-trip use of this software might damage the content of those documents and lose information in many cases.

Your best bet is to get MS Office to export XML, RTF, or PDF, depending on your needs, and use that on your handheld. With those formats, you know what you are getting.

RE: the disease spreads
HiWire @ 2/27/2003 10:27:47 PM #
I definitely agree. Open standard formats like ASCII text files are quite useful for editing content. Most Palm devices are still too small to do really effective layout, fonts and graphics work. Use them for previews or draft work. Leave the hardcore stuff to the desktops with their 21"+ screens and other toys.

"The quicker and dirtier the better"

Palm m505 User

RE: the disease spreads
popko @ 2/27/2003 10:39:03 PM #
Totally agree. Where I work, we deal with clients using different computing platforms. After trying out lots of cross platform office suites out there, we found none that can truly cross plaform. So we decided to just convert eveything into XML and guess what? Problem sloved.

RE: the disease spreads
Fly-By-Night @ 2/28/2003 5:42:12 AM #
Fortunately the next version of MS Office will be XML based. Not only will this make life a lot easier for on the fly conversion (if that were needed, how long before QuickOffice, DTG, etc. are XML based?), it is alos an open standard (although possibly with closed DTGs or schemas).

FBN

-----
Ceci n'est pas une signature.

RE: the disease spreads
Edward Green @ 2/28/2003 6:36:51 AM #
Hmm ... anyone fancy trying to port open office over to PalmOS 5 >grin<.

What would be good is if the actual Desktop conversion conduit was ported from DTG or WS. When you then try and open a MS file it runs the conduit and converts to the PDB, and when you save it it runs the conduit and syncs the changes back with the origional document. It may bot be super snappy, but with Os 5 devices surely it is a possibility?

What I would really like is a universal convert app for my Palm - one that can convert between different Palm formats, like Plkr, WS, DtG, Blazer Cache, WebClipping Cache ... that would be really handy.

Edward Green
--
http://www.khite.co.uk

It takes Different Strokes

madmaxmedia @ 2/27/2003 3:46:17 PM #
I don't really understand all the arguments over this- wait, is it 1 step forward, 2 steps back, or is it 2 steps forward, 1 step back, etc...

Ultimately, native file support is a very nice feature that will help certain people. Way to go Quickoffice!

Preserving formatting (styles, table of contents, etc.) is a totally different feature. Most people may not need this, but for those that do Docs to Go is unparalleled in the handheld world.

It's not that I create fancy formatting on my Palm, it's the ability to keep copies of marketing plans, etc. on my Palm for reference. If I do make a couple of quick edits, I'm not afraid of messing up the document.

It will be interesting to see if Docs to Go can really pull off both of these features at once.


saving already edited document back to native format ??

orol @ 2/27/2003 4:34:43 PM #
is that possible (yes/no) or i just didn't read carefully the discussion ?
even saving the eddited document in somewhat crippled formating would be great ..
but it looks promising ! quickoffice keep going !


RE: saving already edited document back to native format ??
orol @ 2/27/2003 6:21:33 PM #
i just downloaded and tested the quickoffice premier v7 beta trial version (wow such a long name, marketing department did a nice job :o)
i works great ! i mean at least as a viewer of native ms-documents ..
why viewer ? there is possibility to edit native formats but they are saved as html files with .doc extention in case of quickword and as quicksheet files (.xl) in case of quicksheet ..
well not bad for the first attempt ..
hm the html output of quickword is a nice try (but you loose all of your graphics ..
and concerning quicksheet, why are not the files exported at least as .cvs format ? that whould be also pretty helpful ..
but still is a great job done by cutting edge!
guy you rocks ! (mainly because it works even on my trg pro with CF :o)

RE: saving already edited document back to native format ??
Altema @ 2/27/2003 9:26:17 PM #
I'm hoping that they will offer a 'lite' version for just viewing. I'm kind of indifferent towards QuickWord, but I was surprised at how nice QuickSheet turned out. If they get the fomatting loss fixed, I may switch to the full version. Otherwise, I'll wait and see what solution DataViz comes up with.

Regardless, I'd still like to see WordSmith adopted as the 'native' format for serious word processing use under Palm OS.

RE: saving already edited document back to native format ??
justauser @ 2/27/2003 10:52:34 PM #
I tried a couple of simple tests. I found that if I open a Word file with Quickword edit it and save it, the resulting file cannot be read by Quickword. When copied onto the PC, Word will open it assuming it's a doc file and scramble it somewhat. It's not until I renamed the extension to .html that I got any success with Word. However, not much use if Quickword can't pick it up.

Well done Cutting Edge anyway. You didn't beat doctogo crew with the announcement but you got the product out first.

New Office software

mclaughlinc @ 2/27/2003 8:44:24 PM #
I know this is not about Dataviz but didn't I read somethime back they were working on a new version that would do the same thing? If not then I might consider switching but since I have spent so much money with them already. Is Datviz going to charge for this upgrade?

Thanks,

Installed and uninstalled within two hours

Navamske @ 2/28/2003 1:54:19 AM #
I downloaded the demo, installed it, and got rid of it in one evening. Clunky, proprietary, nonintuitive, and annoying UI; don't really see any advantage in it over WordSmith, so I guess I can retract my earlier statement.

same old, it seems?

soulbarn @ 2/28/2003 12:04:15 PM #
I uninstalled pretty fast, too. I applaud QuickOffice for trying, but this isn't really a native MS Office editing application, from what I can see; what it is, I think, is an internal conversion engine, so that you can do this without a desktop PC. That's an excellent feature in some mobile situations, I'm sure, but (and I'm talking only about QuickWord, here, since that's the app I'm most concerned about) it doesn't neccessarily make for a good word processor. My major sell point is handling outline mode, and QW is still HTML based and not very good at it.

DTG is still my choice, because it is more formatting compatible. Wordsmith is probably the better pure writing tool, though - they're very close. I use DTG because I often edit and revise documents and then email them direct to my clients from my Clie (via mobile phone connection.) Using Inbox to Go, they translate perfectly, at least in the outgoing direction.

I wish I could say I enjoy doing business with DataViz - their products seem way overpriced to me, and their service and documentation could be much better, but still, it's the only Palm word processor I know of that keeps most of the MS Word formatting and can send dox directly from the machine....

- dan

- Dan

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