Posted by: Brian Masinick
on July 06, 2005 04:00 AM
I have not had any documents crash and burn on me, but it is good to know that from your perspective, recovery is a strong point compared to the Microsoft Office alternative.
I can tell you at least two horror stories about problems I have had with Microsoft Office and both of them have to do with formatting ard recovery.
The first story is about inconsistent formats. I was working on the Fidelity Test 2000 effort, which was a large project to test and ensure the smooth integration functionality of client-server financial applications at Fidelity. The company wanted to make absolutely certain that major applications would function without incident when moving from 1999 to 2000.
We had very comprehensive test plans, test cases, and test scripts written for a number of applications. We had rather involved test plan templates, complete with hidden macros that described how the plans were to be written.
The project started many years before 2000, so I think that some of the documents were written using Office 95 and others using Office 98. That created problems right there.
Another problem that showed up was that when templates and test plans were copied, linked, and modified numerous times, some of the documents would either refuse to save or refuse to accept modified contents.
Some desktop systems were really limited in system resources, and these large documents would completely tax (and sometimes crash) an entire desktop, not just the word processor, especially when printing an entire test plan (which was a pretty common thing).
Needless to say, the combination of Windows and Microsoft Office was anything but a stable combination in that environment!
A year or two later, I was asked to come into Comverse, a Voice and Data messaging company. Again, I had to quickly design and co-author a comprehensive test plan with one other person using Microsoft Office, mostly Microsoft Word. We began with two of us on the project, but quickly had to add a third person because in the middle of our document, something got corrupted, and we had to retype nearly the entire document from scratch! We had backup copies, we had printed documents, and we had system backups, but everything we tried to access was corrupt!
We were successful in reconstructing our work and reaching our milestone on time, but no credit to Word or Office!
Clearly the backup and recovery features you mention for Open Office are features we could have used on BOTH of these large documentation projects!