A Wish for Document

by Marc Hedlund

Related link: http://www.raelity.org/archives/2003/01/27#document

Rael blogs rumors about Document, a supposed Word competitor from Apple. (What will they call their Office suite? I nominate "iRise." Steve, think of the commercials! "And still I rise...") Here's a wishlist item in case of accuracy in these reports.

I think that programmers benefit from source control systems in ways that many other people might also enjoy -- if only they knew how. Other forms of document change control certainly exist, but are terrible, for the most part; that is, they lack in features or robustness what CVS and friends lack in usability. Word's "Track Changes" feature is Microsoft's attempt; NetApp has another take on similar ideas.

It would be great if Apple (or some Office suite vendor) produced a Word-alike with a "Super Redline" feature, perhaps built on CVS or something else (consistent with Apple's recent open source efforts -- why is it that only Apple, of all the large computer companies, has figured out the real benefit of open source to their business? Everyone knows Steve and everyone watches what he does -- why are their pattern matchers so terrible?). Let me compare my Document document (? blech) to your Word document and give me a good merge interface, a way to roll back to previous versions, branching, renames, and all the rest. For now, treat each user's hard drive as their own personal repository; a networked Xserve version would come later.

(This idea grew out of some conversations I had with Brian about creating an open source repository for filmmakers -- let me check in Quicktime files, sound effects, costume designs, edit decision lists, and whatever else, and let the rest of my production team receive diffs, have access to a current "build" of the film...you get the idea. This is one of the ideas I file under seductive but dangerous -- I love it too much to evaluate it well. Filmmakers talk about "hanging a shot on the wall" (of the editing room) if you can tell you're keeping it in the film because you love it on its own and not because it belongs. Brian rightly encouraged me to think of this idea as one for the wall. Here's hoping the right movie for it comes along some day.)


2003-01-27 11:53:31
They should call it 'Ophthalmologist'
iDoc. Ho Ho.
2003-01-27 11:54:49
They should call it 'Ophthalmologist'
2003-01-27 11:54:50
call it iType
2003-01-27 12:12:38
Missing feature that many of us need
If you consider Microsoft Office to be all that you need to run an office, then Apple should do the job properly and include stuff that you really need to run your office.

I feel that OS X users need a really simple paper document archiving facility.

You should open your scanner, place in a sheet of paper and with the least possible amount of fuss the paper is scanned. Operationally, it should be as easy as a photocopier.

It should then save it as a PDF file ( but a small one for a change - not those Apple giant ones ). This would then give us a really simple and open standard document archive that would allow those archives to be read on any computer.

If you want to add a few bells and whistles, you could convert it to text and make it searchable too.

2003-01-27 12:39:30
I think RCS would be better suited for a single user than CVS. It's easier to configure and doesn't require a whole separate repository (think a Finder hidden RCS folder in each directory).

I actually use RCS when I write articles, works well with XML :)

2003-01-27 14:20:22
Well, I'm more interested in Apple providing a good interface to a full-featured revision control system than in which system that is. So, "easier to configure" should be part of the Apple interface, not the underlying system. That said, doesn't CVS use RCS (or didn't it) under the covers?

Also, CVS (or Subversion, or similar) might lead more easily to a workgroup version of the system down the road.

Thanks for the comments!


2003-01-27 15:14:58
beautiful output?
Would love to see an Apple word processor that can make output as good as TeX. I.E., justified paragraphs are laid out based on the entire paragraph, not line-by-line .. hyphenation is minimized, lines with one or two words only are minimized, orphaned lines on a page are minimized, that would really be nice!
2003-01-28 07:29:08
CatDV repositry for filmmakers
It might not go as far but I think this does some of the things you mentioned:
2003-01-28 08:50:04
beautiful output?
Have you tried LyX, the Latex document processor? (www.lyx.org) It's available using fink and runs beautifully under Apple's X11.
2003-01-28 08:55:45
RE: A Wish for "Document"
Why not "iWork" for an office suite? I still miss some of the functions of WordPerfect, like intuitive tabs and margins for one. It would be wonderful to have a fully integrated and innovative office suite.
2003-01-28 15:11:27
iType why not iReceptionist
Nice name but if they are going to do an office program do the office hardware first. Start with a Bluetooth telephone headset. Make it link up to address book. Add speach input. and that's that. iReceptionist 1.0. Rendevous the printers and fax machines and copiers. Create a rendevous app that lists the people that are in the office by the fact that their palm and cell phone,notebook are in the office automatically. Make it easy to set up messging on a company intranet. No messages to the internet and then back again. Apple is getting great again by integrating hardware and software. I'm sure they can do for Small business, what they did for graphic designers. And I also want them to build a High Def home entertainment center. Firewire to my TV and stereo components. One final unified remote for everything. with software updgrades for new components. oh you just bought a new camcorder. here's the doftware for the remote ot have it act as your output device. DV right from the camera to the set.
And one final thing price point. I commend Apple for their price cuts but i still believe that if they were to keep the 1 Ghz machine as theri low end machine and run with it for another two years that would be great. Just keep on lowering the price point. If within a year they were able to sell a 1Ghz Powermac tower with all the features they have now for $699. How many would they sell? How many of their competitors would be able to stay in business? Let the high end go on to stratosperic speeds. iReceptionist will run fine on a low power 1ghz machine. They would squeeze out the bottom end o the PC market. Competitors like gateway would simply go away. Would you buy a $399 Gateway computer or a $699 Apple. Sorry ranting again.
2003-01-29 09:56:37
New development why?
so with the new presentation software why didn't they continue to build on Appleworks? They effectively have killed this product which was great. Maybe its because they had an agreement with Bill Baby. By developing new apps they get around the agreement