|First Looks: Corel Office for Java ||- by Christopher B. Wright|
The Corel Office for Java pre-beta (at http://www.corel.com/) does run on the Netscape Navigator for OS/2 beta 2 release. I had read on the 'net that it didn't, but if you install everything correctly, it should run (albeit very slowly).
If you can patiently sit through the loading process (give yourself at least half an hour with a 28.8 modem) and don't mind waiting five minutes between mouse clicks, you get a marvellous display of Java technology in action. I'm not exaggerating about the loading times; Corel clearly warns testers before they begin loading the suite (GIF, 9.3k) that it will take some time and that they recommend at least a full ISDN connection.
So far, I've managed to run this Java application (GIF, 5.3k) from a machine running NT, a machine running the Mac OS, and my home computer running OS/2. Here's a rundown of interesting features:
Despite the incredible slowness and the sparseness of features, this is really, really cool and I hope Corel can pull this off quickly. If they can, it should open up the software market -- no longer would software companies be developing for platforms, they would be developing for one big market. Then it would be up to the Operating Systems themselves to attract users by their merits, not by what they can run.
- In all cases, the interface uses the basic GUI features of whatever OS Java is running on. In other words, NT 4.0 machines display windows with the "X" close button at the upper right hand corner of the screen, and that weird textured corner-tab thing at the lower right, along with thick Win95-ish scroll bars that resize in accordance with the amount of information not displayed in the viewable area of the window. Running on the MacOS, you get the upper-left close button, the lower-right resize area, and the MacOS scrollbars. You also get "Window Shade" features if you've set that up in your extensions folder. And in OS/2, (Warp 4 is the only version I've tried) you get the skinny 3-D scroll bars (GIF, 8.3k) (resizable, like NT's) the new min/max/close buttons (haven't tested it with the Object Desktop replacements, but I assume they'll work too), etc.
- The stuff inside the window is a little more generic... The buttons and menu text (GIF, 8k) look very Windows 95-ish (the menu text font seems standard, it is not replaced by whatever you've chosen for your Desktop... sorry, no WarpSans). Still, the icons are nicely done and the drop lists under OS/2 act like OS/2 drop lists (you have to click on the button to activate it, whereas in Win95 and NT you could click on anything, even the name, and the list would drop down).
- Only WordPerfect (GIF, 9.7k), Quattro Pro (GIF, 12.5k) and something called "Pasteboard" are active, but it looks like they intend to include a Java version of CorelDraw in the final packages (there's an icon designated for it, shaded out, on the initial chooser screen [GIF, 7.3k]).
- The pre-beta version of WordPerfect on display is very basic, a few fonts, a few formatting commands -- not like the full-featured Word Processing apps we're used to. Still, it's enough to play around with.
- As I mentioned before, it's very slow. All us fast typists will be frustrated, as there seems to be a two second delay between typing each letter and seeing it displayed.
Corel is not the only company betting on this strategy as a long term bet, but they may be one of the first out of the gate.
Corel Office for Java
by Corel Corporation
download from Corel's Web Page
MSRP: Free during beta period
Christopher B. Wright is a technical writer in the Northern Virginia/D.C. area, and has been using OS/2 Warp since January 95. He is also a member of Team OS/2.
[Our Sponsor: Shenandoah Equipment Co. - Lifetime warrantied name brand memory.]
This page is maintained by Falcon Networking. We welcome your suggestions.
Copyright © 1996 - Falcon Networking