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Office Productivity
When it comes to productivity apps, the focus is on the Web.

The Internet has become the battlefield in the productivity application wars. The latest versions of the three major office suites, for example, incorporate major enhancements that center on the Internet, with emphasis on the Web.

From turning your word processing document into a Web page to incorporating online stock quotes into your spreadsheet, the Internet is clearly top priority. With bidirectional links added to suite components, you can publish your presentation slides to your Web site or connect to the software publisher's site to download clip art and other supplementary files--with little more effort than a mouse click. Corel takes the state of the art a step further with a beta version of Corel Office for Java, a Java-based suite that--although reduced in functionality--becomes the first cross-platform productivity package.

Working together is another theme of office productivity applications. Document routing via e-mail, version control and other collaborative tools appeared in the past year. With some products, you can, for example, route a spreadsheet or document to your workgroup colleagues; later you can easily identify the changes made by each member of the group and incorporate them selectively.

For standalone applications such as spreadsheet and database programs, the changes over the last year or so were more subtle, primarily usability and interface improvements. Database developers took the first steps toward Web interactivity, but you can expect more in this area over the next 12 months.

As new Web standards emerge, publishers will be quick to support them, which should make it even easier to publish highly formatted documents, spreadsheets and other business files to the Web. Expect, too, that the popularity of proprietary transports for collaborative computing will wane, as more groupware vendors ride the coattails of established e-mail systems and exploit the Internet's reach more fully.






Office Productivity: The Winners

Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.