Some love it and some hate it. I have heard of more people un-installing Office 2007 than any prior version of Office. Why? Well, I honestly can’t tell you from first hand experience, but from what I understand, Microsoft moved so many things around in o2007 that people had a real hard time finding things. As I’m asking you to do above, I’ve looked around, and when I saw people dumping Office 2007, I decided I didn’t want to be an early adopter. So I’m still on Office 2003. Yeah, Mr Techno here is holding back until Microsoft fixes the problems. But the mix of o2003 to o2007 users seems to be about 50/50 now, and if I don’t have solutions for o2007 users, I’m missing half the market. So I will soon get o2007. I figure we’re coming up on 2009 and the software has had 2 years to mature, so I’m willing to give it a shot – in a test environment anyway. As a developer, I know there is a lot of code that will need to be re-worked to support o2007 – there will be two separate code bases. And then there will need to be another o2007 codebase for Vista too – and maybe another for whatever comes after that.
Some of you may have already trashed Outlook and you’re on to Thunderbird or Google Apps or Open Office. This was another reason why I never moved forward with NebulaManager – it’s because I was directly linking Outlook to the MV back-end. NebulaSync is designed with Outlook connecting to a middle tier, and the middle tier connecting to MV. The MV app really doesn’t need to be serving up data to Outlook. The appointment data is the same for all calendaring apps, so the web service inquiry can come from any app, not just Outlook. All I need to do (given appropriate business justification of course) is to get your favorite calendar client to request data through the same web service. With that, you can push your MV events up into any sort of software. (And really, my recent coding had nothing to do with Outlook, this was originally an exercise for pushing MV data into "the cloud" and I just needed something to consume the data so I created an addin for Outlook.)
Stop, Back up!
It’s important to note that all of this stuff about Outlook versions and clouds is my headache, not yours. If you’re interested in providing Outlook appointments to your clients right now, you don’t even need to have Outlook installed. All of your MV work is in the DBMS in BASIC. You never need to get into code outside of your app for this sort of application. I handle all of the connectivity details, though of course each site does needs connectivity components. For this, as usual, I use mv.NET – it’s the Swiss Army Knife® of MV connectivity tools. If you already have mv.NET then you may want to get another session license for web services connectivity, and you already know that doesn’t cost much.
Hmm, now that I think about it, you really don’t need a web server or mv.NET at an end-user site. We can host all of the components externally and just come in with any common protocol (telnet, UO.NET, ODBC, whatever) to get the data out of the MV DBMS – I’m already testing over the internet rather than using direct local comms. Ahem – well, let’s cross these bridges when we come to them. The point here is that this stuff is not rocket science.
I dunno, you tell me. I was thinking about something like $25 per workstation, with quantity discounts per reseller or per-site, and there needs to be at least one mv.NET session license, but that’s only $260 (+52/year support). So the absolute minimal entry point for a site would be $337 – unless they already have mv.NET in which case I may not ask for a site fee of any type. (Gulp, that leaves me with $25?!? Am I nuts?) I’ll leave this to you – what do you think? (No, not about me being crazy, but about pricing for Outlook addins…)
As with NebulaXLite, which is free for developers and only $200 per end-user server, I’m trying to create a stream of small offerings that developers can offer ala-carte to their own existing and new clients. If I can offer low-cost software that you guys can sell in bulk, then we will all do well. That’s the goal.
I have a lot of little projects like this in the works and I look forward to sharing them with you. Please take a little time to let the creative juices flow, and figure out what might help to make your employees and clients more happy and productive. Then give me a call and let’s rap about what we can do!