Office Applications, Cloud Office Applications: An Open Letter

Alright, there are a dozen office suites out there that sit in various places on one’s computer, in the cloud, can do X, Y, and Z and the list goes on. However, I don’t want to talk about any of those suites. I want to talk about the suite we all want, the suite that actually gets the jobs done across the spectrum of online, offline, or on Mars! So with that I start an open letter to…

Dear Microsoft, Google, and All Office Suite Makers,

Please accept this letter as a clear message about what we want. This details not some fuzzy idea about what we want, it is what we want, need, and desire to remove the legacy environments of today and to move on with the work of the future.

Installation

We need office apps that can execute from the browser, because simply, there is no reason they need to be an installed application anymore. It is absolutely absurd to install a gigabyte or more locally (MS Office, yeah, I’m looking at you) anymore! There should be zero install. If anything is needed, it should be cached and utilize a transparent, seamless, uninterrupted user experience. In other words, I should never need to install anything and be able to use things offline whenever I need to (now I’m looking at you Google Docs).

Deployment

For large enterprises that need to keep control of their environments and content, deployment should be clean, policy based, and managed through a single sign on mechanism like oauth. Possibly with some clean integration into LDAP or whatever other primary authentication mechanisms a company may user. I reiterate though, no software to install, it needs to run in the browser, and it must deploy cleanly through policy management and verification of user identification.

Ease of Use, UX, and UI

This is simple. You each have unique user interfaces that can be replicated I the browser with today’s technology. Do NOT use Silverlight, Flash, or some embedded proprietary software, use the web based technology of HTML5, Javascript, jQuery, etc the tools are available and ready for use, use them!

Online, Offline

Already there are offline features for installed packages, but that isn’t what we want. HTML5 enables offline capabilities NOW. Get them built please, already. Cheers! As for online capabilities, this is easy because they pretty much exist now.

Collaboration

If I can’t update a document, spreadsheet, slide deck, or other office suite application document in real time with other users that I’m collaborating with it has failed. All office applications must have real-time, collaboration capabilities, with chat built in, sharing, and other capabilities. End of story, this is as fundamental now as being able to type stings of characters in a document.

Welcome to the demands of the future, I’ll leave you to get back to work office suite teams!

Thanks,

Future Document Creators

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