Submit your own community template!


I recently stumbled across some interesting work done by our Office Online team. They allow YOU to submit non-code Word, Excel, and PowerPoint templates to Office Online.



http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/FX100595491033.aspx?pid=CL100632981033


Here are some samples of templates submitted by the community:



http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/recent.aspx


The process is relatively simple and straight-forward. You just need the courage to share your work, a dash of creativity, the new Office, Live ID, and the smarts to follow four steps.



https://services.office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/start.aspx


IMO – these type of community features are great for everyone involved. You get to track your templates and watch the number of downloads and content ratings rocket up. Office Online is one of the most popular sites on the web and opening it up for the community to exchange Office content is a great idea. Over time, it will be easier and easier to use Office Online to start new projects with content provided by experts in other fields.


I’m interested if people think it would be useful if we allowed Access templates to be submitted (assuming we ship the developer extensions with the ability to create templates–and no, I don’t have an update on availability 🙁 ). Would you look for community databases or take the time to submit interesting schemas, forms, reports, and applications?


Talk back to me.

Comments (6)

  1. Manfred says:

    Clint,

    Templates are not very important for Access.

    There are other things on which you must employ your time.

    First of all, fixing bugs with Service packs  😉

    The thing, unfortunately, is not discounted…

    As an example:

    Why Access 2003 SP2 (NOT SP1!) doesn’t fix this unacceptable, most famous, depressing problem?

    http://allenbrowne.com/ser-46.html

    Or:

    Why SubDataSheet(s) doesn’t work properly with Access XP Service Pack 3 (NOT 1 or 2!)?

    ————————————————————

    In my opinion the Access team must work hard in order to resolve the many problems of Access 12: bugs fix and performances problems (the product is really too much slow).

    The templates come after these things…

    I hope that you don’t consider offensives these simple observations.

    Manfred

  2. Manfred,

    We completely agree with you–the Access team should work hard to fix bugs and perf issues in 12. We do that after every major release.

    Regarding templates–I will put together some download numbers of templates. I think you will be surprised how popular they are to a broad silent majority. The numbers are astounding, at least to me.

    I always feel terrible about bugs that make it through the product but that is part of shipping any software. Fixing bugs is always a priority for the team–in fact, the Access development and test team are working on SP3 and SP1 fixes. I personally care deeply about addressing customer issues and making sure developers are super happy with the product. Here is a list of long-standing issues we fixed in the 2003 development cycle http://allenbrowne.com/Access2007.html#Solved.  

    I will check on the tab flicker problem and can you send me more information about subdatasheets via the email button at the top?We do have a bug in the works on one particular perf case–I will let people know when the hot fix is available.

    Here is a post I made about a previous complaint in perf–the offer still stands if people can provide a repro database for significant new perf problems going from 2003 to 2007.

    <Quote>

    We do a ton of perf testing with dedicated perf PM, development and test engineers. They run hundreds of test cases that stress key scenarios. Given the vast surface area of the product and the richness of the OM we aren’t able to cover every scenario–that would be impossible. Beta releases area great opporunity for people to provide the team feedback and bugs on situations like this. We did fix hundreds of issues reported by customers in the beta. This was the most highly tested beta ever with over 3 million people downloading it. But some issues do slip through…

    Your experience doesn’t reflect what I commonly hear from developers and our internal perf tests. There might be something going on in your application. We typically try to fix these types of issues in service packs.

    Lets take this offline and see if we can isolate the problem and potentially get a fix into the SP. Use the comments option to send me your email address with some prelimiarly perf numbers. Open your db in 2003 and copy down the working set numbers (you can find that in task manager) for your key scenarios. Then open the application in 2007 and copy down the working set numbers. This will give us a baseline for comparison. The next step would be to open a support case and have our development take look at the issue.

    Sound fair?

    </Quote>

  3. Alan Cossey says:

    Clint,

    You mentioned that you had no more info on the shipping date for the runtime, which is fair enough. It would be good, however, if someone from Microsoft could give developers a rough idea when it should ship though. There are people who have downloaded the trial version of Access 2007. Some will buy the full version. Some will only want the runtime. Some will want a mixture.

    It would be unfortunate if people who only need the runtime were to find their trial version expired. It would also be unfortunate for any developer (coughs gently) who quoted Microsoft from http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/office/bb229700.aspx where they said "Shortly after the release to the general public of Microsoft Office Access 2007, Microsoft will make available the …. Access 2007 Runtime." Hopefully "shortly" will mean just that.

    PS I’ve no performance issues with Access 2007 compared to 2003 so far.

    PPS On the templates scenario, I have started a fairly simple app that I have now published to Sharepoint (Office Live actually). It has no code and might be of interest to some people as a template when more complete. Is it possible to convert an Access 2007/Sharepoint app into a template?

  4. Shortly is such a relative term… Keep in mind, the street availability for Office 2007 was just over a month ago. It seems like so long ago to me…

    Trust me–the team really wants to get it out. Last I heard they were trying to get it out before the end of June.

    We don’t have a clean way to create a Access + SharePoint template. The biggest problem is fixing up the link tables. You could create a site package that has your Access database in it. Then right code when the database starts to prompt the user for the site and fixup the link tables… Just some thoughts…

  5. Stevbe says:

    Hi Clint,

    I admire your work and appreciate that you continue to publish information about Access, especially as you are no longer part of the Access team, but it strikes as if you did not think much about your last post regarding runtime.

    Telling us to “Keep in mind, the street availability for Office 2007 was just over a month ago” feels like you are trying to turn this around as a fault in how we formed our expectations. The business release was last November so referring to the public release date is misleading and you were the one who posted an anticipated March delivery for the runtime.

    Now you tell us “they were trying to get it out before the end of June” says there is at least 4 month slip since the first date you posted but no explanation other than shortly is relative? I am assuming the “they were” is a typo and you meant “they are”. The only way I would consider 7+ months as being short is if the runtime was originally going to be dropped entirely, and at this point I would not actually be too surpised if that was the case.

    I am sure everyone on the past and present teams are working as hard as they can but it is becoming more and more apparent over time that people higher up the food chain continue to reinforce their position that the development community is not important by not providing the appropriate resources to implement the features most typically implemented by developers.

    Regretfully,

    Steve

  6. Steve,

    Sorry if you felt like I was trying to push the burden from us to you–that was not my intent.

    There has been a bit of a slip from when we originally wanted to get it done but I don’t think I owe the community internal details about it. Some times things take longer than you expect for a number of different reasons. Desire to get this work done isn’t lacking.

    Internally, we have never had serious discussions about dropping the runtime. We actually think it is a great tool to get more people using the product–that is why the decision was made to give it away for free.

    Thanks for the kind words about my blog. I try to keep this forum fun for me and informative for our customers.