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Windows 7 may use Office "ribbon" interface

updated 12:25 pm EDT, Wed September 17, 2008

Windows 7 Milestone 3

Microsoft's next major release of Windows may see the "ribbon" interface from Office 2007 spread throughout the operating system, veteran Microsoft-focused journalist Mary-Jo Foley reports in a new hands-on. The pre-beta Milestone 3 release of Windows 7 now shows the Office interface present in basic programs such as Paint and WordPad and would implement a similarly context-sensitive top bar that adds or removes options depending on the current mode. Microsoft has previously described the ribbon as a much-needed replacement for the tradition menu system, which it says sometimes hides important features due to sheer complexity.

Cosmetically, the software otherwise resembles Windows Vista at its current stage, according to Foley. Microsoft has previously used earlier versions of Windows as its rough prototype for XP and Vista, however, and usually only changes the graphics once the software nears or enters its beta phase.

The software also marks the return of a once-discared feature, now called HomeGroup, that would let users have a secure, consistent login across an entire local network without having to establish a dedicated domain server or otherwise use business-specific features. A child could log into any system but have the same user limits as on their normal PCs.

In addition to the feature change, the company is also likely to be switching out of its rough Milestone phase soon, Foley adds. Claimed sources suggest Milestone 3 is the last before a special preview version for developers this fall, while Beta 1 would be ready as early as mid-December.

The comparatively quick update schedule would suggest an accelerated release schedule for Microsoft, which isn't officially slated to launch Windows 7 until early 2010 but has faced a hostile reaction to Vista from both some home users as well as businesses reluctant to break compatibility and upgrade. In the past, Beta 2 has often followed followed just a few months after Beta 1 and is finished with one or more near-final release candidates.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -6

    really?

    In the past, Beta 2 has often followed followed just a few months after Beta 1 and is finished with one or more near-final release candidates.

    And to think in the past I always thought the betas were at least 6 months apart, if not more, and the RCs were well after that (with the actual release being 3-4 months after the official RC is released).

  1. boulder1259

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2002

    0

    Office ribbon interface

    Please, please, say it isn't true... I've used Office 2007 for months, and while it is far superior to Office 2008 (I'm a Mac zealot, but there's really no comparison... the Mac version is slow and buggy), the ribbons are very difficult to get used to. They force me into working in a way that is not natural to me. I like my tools not to impede my work, and ribbons do just the opposite. You essentially have to relearn years and years of habits to move to a system that seems less efficient than the one it is trying to replace How many of you would want to move back to MS-DOS?

  1. MeandmyMac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008

    0

    Obamaspeak...

    "You can put lipstick on a pig... it's still a pig.

    Lets hope that is not the case!

    "Cosmetically, the software otherwise resembles Windows Vista at its current stage, according to Foley. Microsoft has previously used earlier versions of Windows as its rough prototype for XP and Vista, however, and usually only changes the graphics once the software nears or enters its beta phase."

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999

    0

    Ribbon?

    I think that they are planning to rename it the "Churro" interface.

  1. boris_cleto

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2002

    +1

    Please

    Please let this be true. It would make Window$ suck that much more.

  1. webraider

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2004

    +2

    Wow

    I really do not understand why people don't like 2008 for the Mac. I did not need Macros support (for those that do, I understand) but I quite honestly find it to be MUCH better than 2007. It's more stable and faster. Maybe it's just me. It also has a better interface in my opinion.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999

    0

    Menu bars

    The only reason MS says they need to replace menus is because MS and their developers didn't design the menus properly.

    Correctly named menus with the commands in the correct places make a much cleaner and more productive interface than these awful ribbons.

  1. scotte75ky

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    0

    Office 2008

    I prefer Mac Office 2008 over 2007 as well. I don't necessarily think it's faster, but I definitely like the over all operation and interface MUCH better.

  1. ViktorCode

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    -3

    The point?

    Ribbon panel interface works best with extensive set of options, large number of buttons, etc. All functions of Paint or WordPad could fit into a small old style button panel. What about Notepad, will have ribbon panel too?

    2 all of you naysayers: you might not like it, you may prefer different kind of interface, but the fact is ribbon panel is much more illustrative and easier to use than any other kind of interface panel produced by Microsoft and many others. It's here to stay.

  1. driven

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: May 2001

    +2

    Ribbon

    After 2 months of effort, the Ribbon in Office 2007 made me switch to OpenOffice. I figured if I had to re-learn a whole new product I might as well switch to something more familiar (with menus) that would eventually save me money. The learning curve was a lot less difficult going from Office 2003 to OpenOffice than from O2003 to O2007.

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