23 July 2012

Office 2013 and the apps

A week ago Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer presented Office 15 or 2013 with the words: "the biggest, most ambitious release of Office that we’ve ever done", and now Members of the Community have begun asking if the applications support it.

The technical leaders at Business Solutions, our CEO Peter and Lead Developer Jayant, have studied the Office 2013 Technical Preview thoroughly to see how it affects our Office applications. After this the QAs, Neha and Rinku, have tested all our products with Office 2013. Here is the result:

TimeCard works TimeCard logotype
The application that converts Outlook calendar appointments into fully fledged time reporting sheets already works well with the 32-bit version of Office 2013. Most users of both the Single and the Workgroup versions of TimeCard do not need Office 2013 64-bit, so an early upgrade to Office 2013 should be painless to a majority of our TimeCard users.

Kanban Task Manager also works - soon
Kanban Task Manager logotypeWhen the developers begun building our new application for project and task management in Outlook, they of course knew that Microsoft planned a release of a new Office. They therefore made Kanban Task Manager compatible with both the 32- and the 64-bit versions of Office 2010 and 2013 from start.

The developers are focusing on the business logic of our applications, re-using smart components and libraries as much as they can. In Kanban Task Manager they therefore make use of an application called Add-in Express, and it is not yet updated for Office 2013. In September we will get the updated version, and then we will publish a new Kanban Task Manager. After that we foresee no problems with this product.

HelpDesk OSP works - with one exception
The situation for the helpdesk for Outlook and SharePoint is similar to the one for TimeCard. Users of HelpDesk OSP can continue tracking incidents and co-operate on them by converting incoming e-mails into SharePoint list items even if they upgrade to the 32-bit version of Office 2013.

We have however discovered one combination that is not yet possible: Windows 8 + Office 2013 + HelpDesk OSP. Our helpdesk works just fine with Windows 8 + Office 2010 32-bit, but evidently there is something in Office 2013 that disturbs the compatibility. The developers and testers will solve the problem of course, but for now you have to avoid this combination if you are using HelpDesk OSP.

Folder HelpDesk and Calendar Browser do not workCalendar Browser logotype
The products for Outlook and Exchange were created twelve years ago, and they give us more problems when it comes to Office 2013. Even if both Folder HelpDesk and Calendar Browser have been updated numerous times, they still have parts with old programming code that will give issues.

If you are using one
Folder HelpDesk logotypeof these applications we advise you not to upgrade to Office 2013 until we have updated our products and made them compatible.

Major rewrite
Today only Kanban Task Manager supports the 64-bit version of Office. Most users only need the 32-bit version, and most other applications only support that version, but aims to be better than most.

As a few Community Members have asked for compatibility with the 64-bit version, our developers are now working with a major rebuild of most products. When that is finished all applications will support both the 32-bit and the 64-bit versions of Office 2010 and Office 2013, and in the process they will have become very strong for the future.

Metro interface
Office 2013 only works with Windows 7 and 8, and by leaving the older versions of their operating system behind Microsoft has been able to develop an Office package with many news and enhancements. It has the Metro interface we first saw in Windows 8, and it is clearly designed for use with cloud platforms.

There is a lot of information on the net about Office 2013 in general, so I will not go deeper into that subject here. If you wish to try the new Office now, I especially recommend the latest Slipstick newsletter which has many good tips.

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