power to the programmers

This week is Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference. WWDC is the world's largest gathering of Apple developers. Here in the Moscone Centre in beautiful downtown San Francisco, there are 5000 developers, plus another 1200 engineers from Apple. The whole week is devoted to Apple helping its developers create better Mac software.

As a user experience researcher, I'm not a code jockey. There's a lot for me here at WWDC anyway. I'm learning about new OS technologies and how we might be able to plug into them. There are open labs where I can chat with Apple engineers to learn more. Oh, and there are comfortable chairs in the common areas, where I get to meet my fellow WWDC attendees. This is my favourite part about attending WWDC: chatting with the other developers here, learning about their favourite sessions, and generally basking in the geekiness that is 5000 developers all together in one building. There's a lot to learn, there's a lot to share, and the energy that's here is absolutely fantastic.

This year, WWDC falls at right at the time when we're working the hardest on shipping Office 2008. Some members of our team have carved out a day (or even just a few hours!) to come to WWDC and attend the sessions that will have the most impact on them for our future work. We don't get to spend as much time here at WWDC this week as we would normally, but we want to know what's coming next and think about what we can do in the future. On Monday, I attended the keynote with some members of the PowerPoint team, and we spent the whole time whispering ideas to each other about what we think we could do in the version after Office 2008 with the Leopard features that Steve demoed.

There are lots of other ideas going around WWDC, too. I went to a session today that included a song break. The Apple engineers were on stage with guitars singing about Cocoa. Maybe that's an idea we should consider for our booth at Macworld Expo in January 2008 ...

Comments (33)

  1. Ira Entis says:

    When will we see a public Beta of Office 2008?

  2. Vermyndax says:

    I dunno who you are or what you look like or anything, but we intend to hook up with you folks tonight, so see you there!

  3. bryan says:

    so, we are not going to find leopard features in office 2008

  4. Eric Welch says:

    Ya know, I’d much rather wait a couple weeks for Office 2008 and have you guys immerse yourselves in the latest technology if that means your release of Office will have fewer bugs and have cooler technologies!

    So give yourselves a break, go en mass and come back to work refreshed and more technically inclined to give us better Exchange support. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) 😀

  5. Mike says:

    So when is Office 2008 being released????  I want it!

  6. Eric says:

    I don’t know if you read your comments, and I realize you’re busy, but you’ve touched off a comment I sincerely hope you’ll see.

    As jazzed as I am for this upcoming release, I’m worried it’s going to be behind the curve again. Using the most current version of Entourage, I still don’t even feel as if I’m using an app designed for a Mac. And that doesn’t even count its own internal consistencies and other ways I can think of to improve the application.

    Among my ideas are, of course, smart folders, a task preview pane (just like the mail preview pane), task filtering from the calendar view (I don’t even show tasks in calendar view, since it’s too overwhelming and useless), the ability to hide or “pause” projects not currently active, much better export features (including comma delimited, or other specific files), and shortcut keys for new tasks, notes, events, etc. that don’t conflict with other functions (like mark as read or mark as unread).

    And that’s just for starters. If you want a power user to work together with on usability, by all means, ask. I will happily help make Entourage an even better app. (email epskianon at Gmail)

  7. I do read all of the comments, although I don’t necessarily have the time to respond to them.

    We’ve put a lot of resources on to Entourage, and I think that you’ll like what you see in Entourage 2008.  There are still improvements to be made, but I think that our track record with Entourage shows our commitment.  We’ve been steadily improving Entourage and making regular updates.  Our 11.2 release is a great indicator of that: in the midst of working on Entourage 2008, we released a major update to Entourage 2004 to get very useful functionality in our users’ hands as soon as possible instead of only putting it in Entourage 2008.

    If you haven’t yet, please sign up to participate in usability studies:


    I’ve got a lot of upcoming research as I begin to work on the version after Office 2008, and my team will be travelling outside our home areas (Redmond, WA, and Mountain View, CA), so you might find someone from Microsoft calling/emailing you if I’m going to be in your area.

  8. Bryan – What Leopard features would you like to see supported in Office 2008?  If there is something that would really improve your user experience, please submit product feedback on the following website:


  9. Asam Bashir says:

    What is your current excuse for not including audio and video support in Messenger? Or is that an excuse in transition? What Leopard technologies can you use to enable audio and video support? Could 1200 Apple engineers help you figure out a way to enable this feature, or does it really have to wait till the Monkey man steps down?

  10. Arnaud says:


    thanks for you work, but your comment about "we spent the whole time whispering ideas to each other about what we think we could do in the version after Office 2008 with the Leopard features that Steve demoed."  _IS_ scary. Why the next version ?

    I think that a minimum would be, a QuickLook plugin for all Office document .doc, .docx, and for mails , and also a spotlight plugin for the new documentX.

    I think that everybody expect a little bit of core animation 🙂 .

  11. bryan says:

    i will make the feedback, thank you for the message and one of the thinks that i want to see in office is a built-in plugin for quicklook, so we can use all the apps that use quicklook with office files. and some core animation love for office 2008 🙂

  12. During the WWDC keynote address, Steve Jobs said that Leopard’s QuickLook supports Word and Excel files out of the box.  That’s also on the QuickLook website:


  13. Adam says:

    A bit offtopic, but it says the beta converter was updated to 0.1.1 and released yesterday (Thursday). Is this just a bugfix release? Thanks.

  14. Mike says:

    Seriously – when will 2008 be released?  Office 2004 launches so freakin SLOW on an Intel mac.

    I’ll buy O2008 just for the Universal Binary.

  15. Schwieb says:

    Adam — the 0.1.1 converter release fixes an accidental beta timeout issue (but has no other changes.)  You’ll want to download it if you are using the beta converter.

    Mike — Office 2008 will be released in the 2nd half of this year (2007).

  16. Ian Robinson says:

    What’s the best way to provide feedback about how the current version of Entourage behaves under the latest 10.5 Leopard seeds? I’ve submitted some info vis the MacTopia feedback page. Is that sufficient or do you want support incidents logged?


  17. john noonan says:

    I am just disappointed that an announcement wasn’t made during WWDC.

  18. Mike says:

    Hey guys, may I make a feature suggestion for Office 2008?

    I’m frequently working on 300-400 page documents – just text, no special formatting or charts or anything.  When staring at a bright white page for hours it really starts to hurt the eyes.  I see in Office 2004 you have a preference for "Blue background, white text."  The blue can actually make it hard to concentrate for long amounts of time (yes, I actually did write a paper in college about the neurological impacts of color).  

    Is there any way you can add an option for "Black background, white text" in Office 2008.  That combination is so much easier to look at and concentrate on for long amounts of time.


  19. Terry says:

    Next to the ability to view Word documents and Excel spreadsheets in Quick Look I’m also hoping that PowerPoint presentations will be fully supported.

    Beyond that it would be amazing if Microsoft Office 2008’s interface will fit right in on Mac OS X Leopard. It also supports high-res icon files now, so don’t forget to include 512×512 pixel icon states for both the applications and documents.

    Another thing is that Microsoft Messenger 6 for Mac seems to be experiencing stability issues with Safari 3.0 installed. The application randomly crashes when closing IM windows and the Accept/Decline links of filetransfers are completely unresponsive. Any chance for a fix?

    Thanks in advance.

  20. Jacob says:

    Did you ever try converting a Word 2007 for Windows document containing characters like ‘æøå’ (scandinavian characters) to RTF?

    Honestly, it looks quite silly. So I’m looking a lot forward to Word 2008 for Mac or a converter that doesn’t mess up my project teams files 🙂

  21. Jacob says:

    As Asam wrote, when will we see…

    – Video and Audio in Messenger for Mac?

    On a side note, I am switching to alternative MSN clients, for other reasons than video, since noticing the following in latest version:

    – Messenger just not letting me log in, when Adiumx will let me just fine.

    – Messenger crashing now and then, perhaps due to stressing it a bit.

    I have to say I would love too see Messenger starting up quicker as well.

  22. Dave Hagan says:

    A ballpark date would be nice.  I would like to know when I can test and rollout the new version. I work for a school and prepare the image for Macs that gets deployed to the client computers.

    One thing I would like to know is if Microsoft has fixed the annoying bug in Office that happens with Network Home Directories whereby it "Reconfigures Office Components" everytime a user sits at a computer with an installation of Office that hasn’t had it’s creation date preserved.  This is a real pain the ass and needs to be addressed.  Actually it’s quite embarrassing in a network setting where students don’t always sit at the same computer each time.  Can you look into this for me?  That would be most appreciated!


    Dave Hagan

    Network Administrator

    Duxbury Public Schools

  23. Teun says:

    Since last version of Office 2004 for mac shipped with msn messenger i would like to know if you intend to ship office 2008 with a new version of  msn messenger that is featurewise on par with its windows counterpart.

    Will powerpoint also support 3d accelerated animations like keynote 3 does?

    Thanks for office for mac, i use it alot. Keep up the good work.

  24. Terry says:

    Another suggestion/question,

    What’s the folder Microsoft User Data still doing in ~/Documents? Mac OS X has a perfectly fine location to store this kind of application data in that’s neatly out of the end-user’s way: ~/Library/Application Support.

    It has bugged me for quite a while now that Microsoft Office insists on storing stuff in my Documents folder, while I want use it for one thing only: To store MY personal documents in. Not loads of support files for random applications.

    Hopefully this "issue" will be addressed in Office 2008.

  25. Seems like you guys have a lot of work cut out for you based on the comments. The Exchange support would be something I suggest you try getting down with Entourage 2008. Its "Microsoft" Office, please respect the brand by being on par with its Windows counterpart.


  26. Millz says:


    Our 11.2 release is a great indicator of that: in the midst of working on Entourage 2008, we released a major update to Entourage 2004 to get very useful functionality in our users’ hands as soon as possible instead of only putting it in Entourage 2008.


    From this can we assume that other than some tweaking of the UI and minor feature adds that entourage is going to remain a WebDAV/LDAP client?

  27. none says:

    "There are still improvements to be made, but I think that our track record with Entourage shows our commitment."

    You’re Microsoft.  How hard can it be for you to make a fully functional Exchange client?

  28. Terry – Safari 3 is beta software.  This is a known issue between Messenger and the Safari beta.  We’re working with Apple to get the issue fixed.

  29. Luke Devey says:

    Please let us know when this software will come out. Previous versions are so ropey, and I have to spend so much time using them! Please just get it out quick!!

  30. Terry says:

    nadyne – That’s great news. Hopefully you guys will do something about that Microsoft User Data folder in ~/Documents as well.

    Thanks for the response.

  31. Ron Boehm says:

    My product manager has specified a product

    definition (we are an ISV) that will require an add-on to Word 2008 that will:

    have new GUI elements:  New toolbar, new dialogs

    Use web services to obtain data (including the file to be edited)

    This seems a bit much for any scripting language – I was expecting C++/C#.

    Most vendors allow early access to beta and SDK info to developers so they

    can support a new version close to launch.

    Although I would like to get these things now, I would at least like to know if my goal is possible and when it might be available.

    What is the best way to ask MS this question?  After several hours of looking around the MS web site, I don’t even know who to ask…

    Very fustrating

  32. David Descamps says:

    I confirm that you can’t log in with MSN Messenger on Leopard.

  33. Snugharbor says:

    Welcome! Now be a mensch and please as one of your duties bring back Outlook:

    "All was well until Microsofts’ decision NOT to port Outlook to OS X."

    We buy Office and expect to at least get the same applications as Office. Entrouage has some plusses but it ain’t Outlook by a long shot. If someone wants  a different mail program…Apple has them. Yes, many of us use Mac for personal use but also for work as well. You are crippling MAC Office but not bringing back Outlook.

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