Microsoft Word 2010, Goals and Objectives

Scott Stiles, the head of the Program Management team for Word, describes the aims and objectives that Microsoft has for this new release.
He discusses how the planning has many inputs, such as market analysis, trends, customer requests, MVP and Partner input, and looking at issues users have with Microsoft Word. Nothing new here though he adds that with this project, Microsoft did two things at the outset:

  1. Set aside specific development budget to address known issues and
  2. Built one of our 3 release pillars around “polishing existing experiences”.

Word 2010 Goals

He describes Microsoft’s philosophy behind its investments in Word 2010 in two ways:

  1. Add a few meaningful features to the product (quality v quantity) that affect how people use Word and
  2. Refine existing features

The point the Microsoft has adopted a quality v quantity should be encouraging to the Word development community and to end-users, if the release can focus on this.

Microsoft Word 2010 - Review Pane

Microsoft Word 2010, Review Pane

Scott expands on this by discussing the 3 “pillars” upon which the foundation of this project was built.

Three Pillars

He outlines three main pillars:

  • New Contexts – Microsoft has focused on bringing key pieces of Word functionality to new “contexts” such as Server, 64bit, Mobile and the Web.
    • Mobile – Improvement in how you can use Word on mobile devices.
    • Open XML SDK 2.0 – This SDK opens up a new set of document processing scenarios, especially when combined with Word on the server.
    • Server – In support of viewing in the Web App, Microsoft has built a version of Word tuned for the server.
    • Word Web App – this adds “reach” to how you can work with documents over the web.
    • 64 Bit version of Word, optimized for 64bit OS.
  • Authoring
    • Co-Authoring – Arguably the biggest difference in Word 2010, lets you can write documents collaboratively— without having to worry if someone else already has the document open. How this works in practice, remains to be seen.
    • Improved editing and effects on graphics, shapes etc.
    • Enhanced text, text effects, and typography through OpenType (ligatures, kerning metrics, stylistic sets, etc.).
  • User experiences
    • Navigation — integrates Find with the Document Map.
    • Object anchoring — exposes how/where objects are anchored in the document.
    • Microsoft Office Backstage — one of the key improvements to the overall Office user experience. More details to follow later on this. Update: this is an enhanced form of the Office button, which provides a better user-friendly menu. It lets you manage documents, presentations, or spreadsheets to a greater level.

What’s Not Included in Word 2010?

In contrast with some previous releases, Microsoft says they “haven’t invested deeply in a particular customer segment in 2010. This doesn’t mean there aren’t a few careful exceptions to the rule, but I think it’s worth stating the rule to help frame the release.”

Scott highlights that this release also isn’t about having the longest possible list of new features on the “back of the box”. Think “quality and depth” over “quantity”.

Links

http://blogs.msdn.com/officewebapps

http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones

BackStage http://blogs.technet.com/office2010/

“In Office 2010, we are providing a way for you to see all the information that is available about your document in one convenient place.  And not only that, but we are making this information readily available, so you don’t have to dig around for it yourself.  You no longer have to remember to run several features before sending your file to a potential employer.  And if your document is in a state that you didn’t know about, you will be able to notice this on your way to saving it to a public share.”

http://blogs.technet.com/office2010/archive/2009/08/11/microsoft-office-backstage-part-3-the-info-tab.aspx

Microsoft Word Team Blog http://blogs.msdn.com/microsoft_office_word/archive/2009/07/21/word-2010-framing-the-release.aspx

Conclusion

I’m mildly optimistic about this release.

I have to admit, though not surprised, that there is so much emphasis on using Word over the web. Frankly, I don’t care as I don’t plan to use Word in this regards.

What would have impressed me would be a greater commitment to getting the fundamentals right, for example, bullet lists that stay consistent, the ability to lock the document, secure PDF creation, and the ability to embed other office apps without crashing Word.

Also, the bloated file sizes of Word 2007 is an issue and these create real headaches trying to maintain.

However, let’s wait and see.

If you have had a chance to beta test Word 2010, please let know.