While rebuilding my dev machine with Windows Server 2K3 a couple of weeks ago I installed Office 2007. I skipped the ultimate features such as Groove etc. leaving me with what has been my standard Office installation for years. Outlook, Word, Excel and Access. Why access? Haven't had a use for it for as long as I can remember, but I always leave it in.
My first reaction with the new Office 2007 installation wasn't the Ribbon which I love or the much improved Outlook. It was the sluggish UI and slow startup times. If I was writing a book, I maybe wouldn't have cared much about the slow load times, but it happens to be so that I need to open and close a bunch of documents throughout the day in both Excel and Word. The experience became so painful that last night I uninstalled Office 2007 and re-installed Office 2003. I've been working with Office for many years and I'm pretty familiar with what I need to get my work done. I use it mostly to read and write design specs, some basic Excel stuff and email of course. After using Office 2007 for two weeks only to revert to Office 2003 I'm feeling confident that for my usage scenario I'm not missing out on something spectacular.
I need my tools to be a snap to use and not get in my way. Maybe I'll try again after SP1, but for now I'm not going to let Office 2007 suck the power out of my workstation.
P.S I have heard that the performance of Office 2007 is significantly better on Vista, but that's off limits as well for now.
I really wanted this blog post to be a short summary of a successful setup of Vista on my dev machine. I really wanted to. I love the new UI! I like the fact that it will put my powerful graphics card under some real pressure offloading the CPU. I'm sorry I didn't make it, but I ended up with a fresh install of Windows Server 2003 instead. Win2K3 will replace my previous XP Pro installation.
I got Vista up and running in less than 25 minutes. The installation process was seemless. Visual Studio with SP1 + SP1 for Vista installed without major hickups, but SQL Server 2005 SP1 is a no-go. The first real problem was installing Infragistics 2006 Vol2. It doesn't work. I tried a few workarounds from the Infragistics web site, but without success. Since we rely on this version for a major project I can't really upgrade to an OS that doesn't support it. No blame on MS of course, this is an issue with Infragistics installer which doesn't play well with Vista. A little dissapointed, yes, but I'm happy with Win2K3. It's rock solid and after following the steps in "How to convert your Windows 2003 Server 2003 to a Workstation!" I'm ready to go with a lean and clean install.