How Difficult Can It Be?

As you may well know, Office 2007 and Vista will shortly be available to businesses. Thanks to the Microsoft Developers Network, at work we’ve had copies since last week.

Whilst I was away in the USA, two of the other developers on my team parallel installed Office 2007 – although Vista is still limited to non-production machines. Feeling slightly left out, I thought I’d take a look at the new version of Office.

Having said that, I didn’t get far before I hit a snag, my version of ActiveSync. Until now I’ve been quite happily working with version 3.8. Although it was updated to version 4 – indeed I have a copy of version 4 on a machine here, it didn’t give any particular benefit going through the hassle of upgrading. However, looking through the requirements for Office 2007, it needed ActiveSync version 4.

So I went and grabbed the install of the latest version, and set it going. Aside from changing ActiveSync, nothing else was being changed at this point – same version of Outlook on the desktop, same PocketPC with Windows Mobile 2003 SE. The install detected that I was upgrading, no problem I thought…

Seems that it isn’t only MarkSpace that has trouble with synchronising. By the end of the process it had managed to duplicate over 400 entries in my diary, and created a stack of duplicate phone numbers in the contacts. If a system using Microsoft software throughout the process doesn’t work with just upgrading one element, I’m not surprised that third-party solutions struggle. Really, how difficult can it be to get a PDA/Desktop combination that works?

Anyway, based on that experience, plus the somewhat negative feedback from my colleagues about how the new Office interface, whilst being faster with a mouse is a pain to drive with the keyboard, I suspect I’ll be sticking with Office 2003 for the moment, despite some tempting new features. Thankfully using the compatibility tools I can read documents from the new suite as needed.

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