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Re: OT: Massachusetts Verdict: MS Office Formats Out



On Thu, 2005-29-09 at 14:09 -0400, Tony Nelson wrote:
> At 10:50 PM +0930 9/29/05, Tim wrote:
> >On Wed, 2005-09-28 at 14:26 -0500, Mike McCarty wrote:
> >> When I use OpenOffice, and want to save something that I created using
> >> MS Office, I find that it frequently wants to warn me that
> >> I may be losing some special features. For this reason,
> >> I have abandoned using OO for editing stuff created with MSO.
> >>
> >> I don't know enough about these things to know whether anything
> >> in the files are actually at risk, but rather than lose them,
> >> I re-boot to Windows and do the editing there.
> >
> >Do a test...  Usually, the warnings about things like how some document
> >formats mightn't support some styling effects, might not do tabs or
> >margins in the same way, etc.
> 
> As a programmer, foolish warnings such as the above "All might not be safe"
> disgust me.  If the code thinks that something might not work, the author
> is responsible for making it do the right thing.  In this case, make the
> file in a temporary place (and this is the only responsible way to do it
> ever) and notice if anything didn't make it through the export process.  If
> that happens, /then/ warn the user, tell them what got lost, and ask what
> to do.  Such a warning actually means something that the user might care
> about.  If they don't use any non-exportable feature in a document, they
> won't get any warning; if they do, they can at least decide whether to keep
> using the feature.
Gotta agree with that.
I don't know how stuff that works well gets written with such 
poor error reporting. I personally find that good error 
reporting and warnings make the job of programming easier, 
at least you can have an idea where to look to fix a problem 
or add a feature if there is a modicum of detail in the 
message. For instance, if I were writing something that may 
loose some advanced formatting, that is what I would report 
and may even provide a help link to explain what formatting 
is not supported for that type of file format. It would also 
be helpful to only report the problem if an incompatible 
feature was detected.


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