Friday, May 26, 2006

First Look at Word 2007

Well, I have started toying around with the new 2007 Microsoft Office System. Fancy Name, huh? Well, in this post I just want to fly over the MS Office Word 2007 features, that will be the most obvious ones, and a few things that I played around with. As all of us like to see those first, here is the current Beta splash screen, nothing really new here...

The current Beta splash screen

Well, and when you first look at it, it does look different. And, it is different. Forget all those shortcuts through the menus, you have used so far...

First Impressions

In fact, only one menu item remains, everything else has been moved to the all new ribbons. Note: Microsoft does not call them toolbars anymore, those are ribbons. And the file menu itself has changed. It is much clearer, yet some items do not really related directly to the file opened. But they had to put some things somewhere, I guess.

The new file menu

Well, let's create a new document. From the file menu, go to New... and you will be greated by the all new New Document window. Usually you'll see the featured templates to begin with. On the right is a list of the most recently used templates.

New Document - Featured

But there are more views. Like the localy installed templates, which yet lack a preview - for which reason, I do not know - and the online library hosted by Microsoft. Select any category and you'll see a live list of templates available for download. Note: the dialog is downloading the preview in the background, 10 previews are available, more will come in in just a few seconds (well, not on this screen shot anymore ;-))

New Document - MS Online

Well, let's import an existing document. I'll take the one created for my first BDN article. When loaded, I first saved it in the new Office Word format. The file extension is .docx. In fact, all MS Office products now save the files with an additionall x at the end. I do not know what it stands for. Someone told me, that it denotes the new XML file format, but looking at the file, it is not an XML format. But anyway, below you see the icons for older Word formats (.doc) and the new one (.docx).

The Icons showing the difference in the file type

Once you have saved the file in the new format, Word will still preserve a backward compatibility mode, which easily allows you to save your document for use with older versions. From the file menu, you can select Convert and Word will forget about those restraints.

MS Word Title Bar - Compatibility Mode

Now, once you see those ribbons and if you are like me, how can you navigate them without using your mouse. Well, it es easy, simply tap your [ALT] key and release it again. All items accessible through any [ALT]+[...] combination will show a little hint giving you there access key(s). Below you see the three step navigation to change the document color theme ([ALT]+[P]+[TC]). Press [ESC] at any point to cancel this navigation mode.

Access key hints as you go

But, let's take a look at those common ribbons you will have to get used to. Those ribbons should be accessible at all times and at any place in your document.

The common ribbons of MS Office Word 2007

But what happens when you select a picture in your document? Well, the another ribbon (or more) will appear at the top. All ribbons will show only when their features are required. This way Microsoft hopes to keep the interface much cleaner and easier.

The picture tools ribbon

As you know it from those good old toolbars, ribbons will collapse too, if the screen size is too small. First some of the larger items will scale/collapse down and next those rarely use will shrink to a drop down button. The next image shows this behavoir with the Home ribbon. Note, at the bottom, each ribbon area shows its name.

Ribbon resize behavoir

Another nice feature, once you get used to everything moving around when you use it, is the live preview of styles. Select some text and test the styles that come with the document template. As you move your mouse across those styles, Word will automatically display a live preview. Once you select a style, it will be applied permanently (until you use undo ;-)).

Live style preview

Next, I have found another feature, which I'll call the Most Wanted-Feature. Not because it is the one I was waiting for, but it is the one, that probably gets you the most wanted functions... When you select some text with your mouse, Word will automatically move the most used items right next to your mouse cursor. This is neat. I love it.

Mouse actions - Most Wanted

Now, it will take some time to get used to the new Microsoft Office Word 2007 and the way you work with it. Users who use it often, users who know it inside out, by heart, and while sleeping will have a hard time to get used to it. But I believe this will be somewhere between 3 to 5 percent of the current users. Everyone else will move right into it and start working with it. It is great and I will play around some more with it. Once I got it figured out a little more, I'll start to play with it and I'll try to add some new ribbons. I don't know how, yet, but things.take.time ;-)

About 3 hours remaining...

I just thought I let you know. Currently, I am downloading the MS Office System Beta 2 Kit 2007 - Program Disk, the MS Office System Beta 2 Kit 2007 - Server Disk (Office Project Server 2007), and the MS Office System Beta 2 Kit 2007 - Server Disk (Office SharePoint Server 2007). Much later today - it is 0:15 a.m. - I'll start installing the programm disk and will start poking around ;-)

Stay tuned for the first information coming up here...

Monday, May 22, 2006

AdSense is working!

Wow, last Thursday, my Google-AdSense-Account just grew over 100 USD in one day. Since my blog definitly is not generating much, not that this realy does matter, 100 USD do make an impact. How did this come?

Well, did you note AdSense-Ad below the AdSense-generated-Ads. Someone signed up for it on December, 2nd last year. Only one person has done so, since I have that button on my page and just has hit the 100 USD mark with his ad-clicks. And for those first 100 USD he earned, I got my commision last Thursday.

Cooooool :) Thank you, whereever and whoever you are!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Delphi SpeedUp - update to version 1.72

Since my last post about the Delphi SpeedUp tool, a few smaller updates have surfaced. Andreas is still working to improve the tool and to remove any bugs found by the users.

The current version, available for download is 1.72.
Download the tool/installer (ZIP, 250 KB)
Download the source code (7zip)
View the original thread (German)

Have fun and a blinding fast IDE!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Where does the Community Welcome Page get the update information...

I was asked, where the update information are coming from, which are displayed in the Community Welcome Page. Well, basically it is a chronological mixture of the orignal BDN update feed, which is shown in the original Welcome Page within Delphi 2005 and the Borland Developer Studio 2006 and a blog I maintain here. The RSS feed is served from one of our servers and can be accessed through your newsreader from

It contains an additional tag named source, which tells you whether it comes from the BDN or from my blog.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Community Welcome Page - Version 2

Today, I've finally uploaded the update for the Community Welcome Page. Besides some bugfixes (like missing scroll bar for small resolutions, path names with ampersands (&)) there is a all new feature. John Kaster has provided a new BDN web service, called YAPP - Yet another pretty printer.

This service allows you to format source code to HTML, directly from within the Delphi IDE.

YAPP Screen Shot

Visit Borland CodeCentral to download the update.

Monday, May 15, 2006

First time - Delphi ASP.NET application on MONO

Well, I just ported, for the first time, an ASP.NET application, written in the Borland "DevCo" Developer Studio 2006 from IIS/ASP.NET 1.1 to MONO 1.x on Apache. An application developed during a developer seminar at BMW roused the interest of one of the participants. He hosts his webs on Linux machines with Apache. Over the weekend, he installed the MONO .NET framework and we got started about 90 minutes ago in adapting the application.

We changed the MS SQL ADO.NET driver to a MySQL .NET driver and adjusted the Adapter and the SQL Command to the MySQL components, compiled, deployed and started it. It works great. We tested the whole setup on a Debian Linux in a VM with only 64 MB RAM! Not fast, but fine ;-)

He is getting ready to move from PHP to ASP.NET. There is nothing like displaying data in a browser with almost no coding. Try that with PHP!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Developer NOW!

Well, last week I went to Mülheim a.d. Ruhr and listened to DavidI and Jason Vokes and what they had to say about the "DevCo" aka Developer Tools Group (DTG). There wasn't much new, but a few things should be mentioned I guess.
  • There are a few companies interested, which at present take a closer look at the facts and numbers of the DTG
  • They are aiming to have the investor and the final name of the DTG by the end of this summer. The EKON (September 25th - 29th, Frankfurt, Germany) was mentioned.
  • In the current group of investors are neither soft- nor hardware companies
  • Currently 180 employees are selected for the DTG, they are aiming for about 250 to 300 employees once things get rolling
  • Highlander is aimed for the first quarter of 2007. Main goal is .NET 2.0 support and first things for Windows Vista.
  • New .NET language features will be ported to the Win32 compiler. They have mentioned Generics
  • There will be a few hotfixes coming up for the current BDS 2006, after the update 2 has been made available for all languages.

Note: this list is copied and translated from an entry by Daniel Wolf of the Delphi-PRAXiS ;-)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Administrators and Microsoft

The other day I went to a Microsoft seminar on the upcoming 2007 Microsoft Office System (note: system is still written all lower case on, but wait and see...). While it was a really interesting evening, one fact made me smile.

What do you think, how long has been the Update 1 for the new MS SQL Server 2005 been ready? Well, Microsoft has learnt from the old school administrators and their fear and suspision when installing new software. They'll usually wait for Update 1... Well, guess what, Update 1 has been ready 4 weeks before the MS SQL Server 2005 has been released to market.

Go figure... ;-)
Search WWW Search