FSpaceRPG article

Status: Official

For future work I’ll be abandoning the use of MS Word document formats and others in use by MS.

Problems with the obsolescence of file formats that we have struck with materials authored using the v4 Office suite, the rendering engine problems of 07/08 with the older 97-03 format is a very good reason. Even opensource offerings like OpenOffice and NeoOffice have followed the file format obsolescence trend.

With the likes of GoogleDocs and now Microsoft’s OfficeWeb you might things could be more accessible and cheaper to maintain.

We know MS is very centered on the Windows/IE ecosphere and support for other platforms and open standards is not their vision. While I applaud their work on Silverlight, non of it’s authoring tools exist outside Windows - a prime example of forcing developers and authors to adopt their technology over competitors.

The online model is being increasingly adopted by other vendors. While it is free at the moment, business and charging models change over time.

But let’s face it, with the CMS code I already use for web development I could built a GoogleDocs Word authoring package of my own (and might make a lot of sense).

But the software rat race and putting trust in vendor’s is difficult and expensive.

The old RTF file format standard has actually stood the test of time, and any documents I had formatted in this or older TXT and ASC formats have survived intact and supported since my days on the Atari platform.

A number of publishers have stuck to the TXT and RTF file formats as submission formats for various reasons.

I think this is very prudent, and allows a wide scope for sharing, and allowing users to have a light application to view, amend and author without resorting to the heavyweights of Office suites.

As an example my own setup I’ve got Office v4 for Mac, Office 98 Mac, Office vX Mac, Office 2004 Mac, Office 2008 Mac, OpenOffice 3, NeoOffice 2.2.4, Clarisworks 5, Appleworks 6, iWork 06, iWork 08, Office 2000 PC, Office 2007 PC. And I’ve got a whole bunch of older stuff. And all this across PPC OSX Tiger/OS9, Intel OSX Leopard, Windows NT4, Windows XP.

This much variation is just dumb (and chews a lot of disk space needs multiple real machines, virtual and emulated machines)

And I’ve had to use them all at various stages.

For text only TextEdit under OSX handles RTFs just fine.

So I’m going to simplify this list, but a lot of migration work is needed to bring older materials to newer formats. Given the need to preserve presentations and spreadsheets, I’ll need to keep some form of office suite.

The open office suites are good to save $$$, but for a Mac user iWork is the best value for $$ for a paid app and has the best integration and active support tied to the OS.

I hope this gives you some ideas.

I’ll report on what I finally settle on.

The Linux and Windows centric developers in the team can put forward their views for recommending product choices for the respective platforms.

Categories: Development

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