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DataViz Working on Native Office File Formats

DataViz has announced new technology that allows people to use documents in native file formats such as Word and Excel on a Palm OS device. This will allow users to create, edit or simply view files in their original Word and Excel format on the handheld itself. DataViz's new technology will be available in summer 2003.

For the last four years DataViz has been the leader in providing Microsoft(R) Office compatibility on the Palm OS. A version of its Documents To Go(R) software is included with most Palm and Sony handhelds, and the flagship Documents To Go Premium Edition is the number one selling office suite according to market research firm NPD Intelect (2002). Currently most people use Documents To Go to work on Office files that are delivered via synchronization.

In the future, as wireless capabilities grow, files will also commonly be delivered as wireless e-mail attachments or even via removable media such as SD cards. Regardless of delivery method the end user will want these files to be instantly accessible on their mobile device. Native file format support ensures this instant access is possible regardless of where the file is from, or how it is delivered.

Benefits of native file support include:

  • Seamlessly exchanging files between a Palm, PocketPC, or a computer running Windows, whether wirelessly or using removable media
  • Creating or editing e-mail attachments in Word or Excel native format so recipients open a fully formatted Word or Excel document
  • Using WiFi or Bluetooth to deliver documents to other users without worrying about preprocessing the files
"As handhelds become more powerful, creating, editing, and sharing files in native Word and Excel formats on Palm OS devices becomes a realistic option," said Scott Thomas, DataViz. "With this new development, we are building on our history of Microsoft Office compatibility so that Palm OS users will be able to use their Word and Excel files in the 'untethered' world just as they have come to expect via synchronization."

DataViz will be providing an easy way for third party Palm OS developers to tap into the Documents To Go applications that will offer native file format support. This will enable applications such as e-mail clients and file managers to interact with native file formats and Documents To Go.

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FINALLY!!!!!!

chilimost @ 2/12/2003 11:32:16 AM #
What more can I say...

RE: FINALLY!!!!!!
Fammy @ 2/12/2003 12:39:42 PM #
I have a friend who owns an IPaq (read: one) and I would like the ability to send and receive Excel files to him from my Palm. The PPC uses some funky stripped down version of the Office files. Any chance we will see this kinda support in the future? (The I will say "Finally!!")

_____
Fammy
RE: FINALLY!!!!!!
cbowers @ 2/12/2003 1:04:47 PM #
You still can. Pocket Word will still open the native format. Once he edits and saves it however, he'll loose any complex formatting, and it will be in PocketWord format. And you're correct in that you may well have issues with the returned file...

RE: FINALLY!!!!!!
Marshall Flinkman @ 2/12/2003 10:55:01 PM #
"he'll loose any complex formatting"

Some of you may not get how funny I find that phrase, but it conjures up the image of all these characters dispersing from the iPAQ in a cloud...

After all, "to loose" is "to unleash"--not to be confused with "to lose"...

Your friendly neighborhood English major now returns you to the discussion already in progress...

Hey Snapperheads!

Altema @ 2/12/2003 11:39:06 AM #
Thy Holy Grail hath been found ;)

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
GregGaub @ 2/12/2003 11:47:58 AM #
Ah, but will it support the exchange manager that SnapperMail uses? Also, will this new DocsToGo work on OS 3.5 devices, or will it be 4.1 or even (shudder) OS5 only? If they can't make it work on OS3.5 for any reason, then it will be all but useless to the majority of Palm OS smartphone users. Let's hope the anwers are Yes and Yes. :)
What would really suck, imho, is if they made this new version only work well with their InboxToGo software. :

-- SeaPUG: http://www.seapug.com --
Hey Snapperheads!
Galapagos @ 2/12/2003 11:50:17 AM #
Hopefully by the Summer of 2003 PalmOS will have some support for filetypes and directories or handling the flood of incoming files may become quite a chore!

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
robrecht @ 2/12/2003 12:27:45 PM #
"As handhelds become more powerful, creating, editing, and sharing files in native Word and Excel formats on Palm OS devices becomes a realistic option,"

Sounds to me like OS5 only

Thanks, Robrecht

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
Toysoft @ 2/12/2003 12:38:32 PM #
Snapper claims that it can read native format but actually it doesn't. It can save the attachment in native format it doesn't really let you process the file in native format unless you use external apps like the bundled .zip and .jpg viewer.

Honestly, that is nothing new. Multimail can save in native format years ago.

I find all this to be nothing more than marketing hype. To truely acclaim native format it must read or write in native format which snappermail doesn't.

any email client can stream the data and write in native format to the card or ram.

that is my 2 canadian cent (how much would that be in US?)

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
treo007 @ 2/12/2003 12:47:18 PM #
Yes, this is unbelievably great news. Now, if Sprint can integrate attachment support into it's Business Connect Suite, I'll be in PDA nirvana.

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
Altema @ 2/12/2003 12:49:46 PM #
SnapperMail does not claim to read native formats, it claims to *handle* native formats... something which it does quite well. I have received everything from text attachments to executables and DWG files.

Their website advertises: "Attachments can be attached/saved to your memory card or opened with myriad of partner applications supporting nearly all common filetypes."

I've been a MultiMail user ever since my Palm IIIe, and still have MultiMail SE on my current device, but it never supported attachments. Perhaps you are thinking of a different application? With MultiMail, I always had to go to the desktop to get my attachments, and there is not even an attachment option when composing a new message. If it really can do all attachments wirelessly, let me know, as I still have it loaded.

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
rsc1000 @ 2/12/2003 1:08:47 PM #
>>Also, will this new DocsToGo work on OS 3.5 devices, or will it be 4.1 or even (shudder) OS5 only? If they can't make it work on OS3.5 for any reason, then it will be all but useless to the majority of Palm OS smartphone users.

Palm didn't include VFS (Virtual File System) support until OS 4.0 (some liscensees added this to their implementation of 3.5/3.51 - no?), so i would not expect any support for native file formats for devices with os prior to this. The other big issue is processing - it takes a fair bit of 'horse-power' to do processing of complex MS Office docs. Maybe support for 4.0/4.1 - but i wouldn't be surprised if it only supports 5.0.

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
Toysoft @ 2/12/2003 2:10:29 PM #
The version that i've used was MultiMail Pro. It comes with plugins for .pdb and .prc. Also you can use the .zip plug to extract zip files upto 2 megs in size. there are limited numbers of plugins avail.

the new PalmOS Versa mail uses the same plugins.

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
Altema @ 2/12/2003 2:37:54 PM #
"The version that i've used was MultiMail Pro."

Ahh, that explains it. I have MultiMail SE which is obviously a good step down from pro. Thanks for the info. Does it work with wireless?

Paul

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
Toysoft @ 2/12/2003 3:07:54 PM #
Yes it does. we tested on M130 with a modem and on Kyocera.

BTW, MultiMail's GUI is out of this world. It suck totally. I still don't understand why Palm paid millions for it. Feature set is ok back then but now its outdated.

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
Altema @ 2/12/2003 4:41:01 PM #
"What would really suck, imho, is if they made this new version only work well with their InboxToGo software."

Let's hope not. I really like DTG, but if they make this native support only workable with their own mail client, it would force me to ignore what would have been an incredible feature and look harder at the QuickOffice suite.

My ideal combo would be SnapperMail and DTG Premimum, but if they turn a cold shoulder to SnapperMail...

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
Quaffy @ 2/12/2003 5:17:29 PM #
Did you read the last paragraph of the story?

"DataViz will be providing an easy way for third party Palm OS developers to tap into the Documents To Go applications that will offer native file format support. This will enable applications such as e-mail clients and file managers to interact with native file formats and Documents To Go."

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
Altema @ 2/12/2003 11:32:57 PM #
Nope, I stopped to do something else and never went back to read what I though would be a disclaimer or something. Guess I need to RT(whole)A!

RE: Hey Snapperheads!
Cutting Crew 2 @ 2/13/2003 9:33:10 AM #
I used to use MultiMail Pro -and why not, since it worked with Quickoffice. But, the code was so instable in actual usage (whether the instability lay with the NetLib or in MMPro is a matter for debate) with various Minstrel modems or dialup that I was thrilled to migrate to Corsoft Aileron and all the benefits it provided as a 'server based' solution: fast retrieval, very efficient attachment sizes, operation niceties like 'live' weblinks, etc.

I find when using Snapperfish SnapperMail on one device and Corsoft Aileron on another, that they are really aimed at two different usage scenarios...another example of how the vitality in the Palm OS community keeps the cycle of growth moving ahead--on behalf of consumers.

vive le competition

---
Mike Compeau

How about Hi-res support for Word?

madmaxmedia @ 2/12/2003 11:52:12 AM #
That's nice, but I'd really like to see Hi-Res support for Word to Go first. Word To Go looks absolutely ugly compared to WordSmith. But Dataviz has the best synchronization by far (no loss of formatting like styles, etc.)

RE: How about Hi-res support for Word?
Quaffy @ 2/12/2003 12:17:10 PM #
DocsToGo HAS had Hi-res support since version 5.000 came out, including Hi-Res for Word To Go, Sheet To Go and the Slideshow app. Word To Go even supports graphics that are in my original Word files. The spreadsheets look awesome, too! See http://www.dataviz.com/products/documentstogo/dxtg_revhist.html
RE: How about Hi-res support for Word?
madmaxmedia @ 2/12/2003 5:56:16 PM #
Oops, thanks. I guess what I was really asking for was FineType-style fonts that look extra pretty.

Thanks for the clarification-

RE: How about Hi-res support for Word?
Quaffy @ 2/13/2003 5:25:20 PM #
There are a bunch of fonts I can chose in version 5 in Word To Go that look great on a hi-res device, but I haven't used WordSmith, so I can't say if they're as "pretty".

Is this legal?

ray00pal @ 2/12/2003 1:08:48 PM #
Is it legal to work on other software's native format? You have to reverse Engineer the file. If you make an after market auto part, you can not make it the same as the original. So they must modify something in the native file.

Besides, who wants to work on the native format? The original file size is too big. It is not worth it.

RE: Is this legal?
rsc1000 @ 2/12/2003 1:18:25 PM #
>>Is it legal to work on other software's native format?

Im sure Dataviz lawyers completely forgot to think of this ;) There are, like, a thousand apps that read & write MS Office format (including the DocsToGo conduit).


RE: Is this legal?
Altema @ 2/12/2003 2:46:27 PM #
Yes, if you create a document in DTG or WordSmith on the handheld, it will create an MS Word document on the desktop. This leads me to believe they already have this worked out.

In regards to "hi-res", I think the first poster was referring to the FineType font rendering technology in WordSmith, which is a separate issue from the device screen resolution.

I have not compared the two on a higher screen resolution device, but on standard res devices WordSmith looks a lot better. A word in DTG in italics is almost unreadable on a standard res device, but the same text in WordSmith is very readable due to sub-pixel rendering which increases the available resolution of fonts. It has its drawbacks, but works well in most situations.

I have and use both DTG Premimum and WordSmith, and will use DTG if tables or images are involved, or if original format preservation is crucial. However, for writing from scratch or reading, WS is my preference.


RE: Is this legal?
Calroth @ 2/12/2003 8:05:50 PM #
DataViz has been making file translation software for close to the last 20 years. If this was an issue, it would have come up sooner...

I suspect that they're moving their file translation software from the desktop (conduit) to the Palm. I think the plan is, you move the full Word file to the Palm, translate it to Word To Go format when it's opened, and translate it back to Word format when it's closed. I don't see why this wouldn't work, I'm pretty sure I used their translators on my 16Mhz 68K Mac (back in the day), and there's not much performance difference between that and your average Palm.

RE: Is this legal?
Calroth @ 2/12/2003 8:12:48 PM #
(The above is also the reason why I reckon they'll still support Palm OS 3.5. There's nothing inherent in the translators that requires Palm OS 4, and it should be fast enough without requiring Palm OS 5. Unless you want to work on your 6MB Great American Novel.)

RE: Is this legal?
enjolras @ 2/12/2003 11:54:13 PM #
I'm pretty sure that they don't really work natively on the desktop side right now anyways. There is a visual basic interface to ALL of the Microsoft apps that allow you to get at the internal structure of a document and convert it to whatever you want. I'd bet a sweet penny that their current desktop software does exactly that, with no ability to actually handle the native document.

This is a much different animal.

RE: Is this legal?
rsc1000 @ 2/13/2003 10:02:37 AM #
>>There's nothing inherent in the translators that requires Palm OS 4, and it should be fast enough without requiring Palm OS 5. Unless you want to work on your 6MB Great American Novel.)

VFS. OS 3.5 doesn't let you save different file formats to expansion memory - and you can't do this to main mem. The easiest (only?)way to actually deal with native formats on a Palm device is using VFS - which is OS 4.0 or greater (& SOME lisencee implementations of 3.51).


RE: Is this legal?
Ben S @ 2/14/2003 8:45:09 AM #
OpenOffice.org has had the ability to read and save Office-native files for quite some time. It's not illegal.

Wouldn't it be great if . . .

Electricus @ 2/16/2003 1:26:00 PM #
Word to Go had a word count feature?

When ?

magjm @ 6/3/2003 6:01:45 PM #
Whaen are they going to release this ? About now is when they said they would !!

RE: When ?
JoeBarbs @ 7/23/2003 9:14:19 AM #
I'm waiting too!! We are almost into August now.

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