Home | Forums | Submit   Haiku Generator | Quotable JLG | The Icon Tarot 

Gobe Interview - First Productive 3.0 Details

Filed under the:  department.
Posted by:Ryan on Monday, 13 Nov, 2000 @ 3:15 AM
Gobe Software

To celebrate BeGroovy’s relaunch, Tom Hoke of Gobe fame agreed to sit down with us for a detailed interview about the next release of Gobe Productive, and Gobe in general. He will be reading your comments and answering any further questions, so now’s the time to break out all those questions you are sure he can’t or won’t answer, just to annoy him. Its fun. Try it. :)

Gobe SoftwareApart from Be, Inc. itself, Gobe Software is arguably the most important BeOS based development house in existance. Not only are they responsible for North American distribution of BeOS Professional and Next Generation Entertainment’s Corum III, but they also develop Gobe Productive, the best (and only) native office suite on BeOS.

Productive has always been a staple app for BeOS users, and pretty much every major BeOS site has run a review at some time or other, including us. And most people like it.

The last major Gobe release was November 30th, 1999 when 2.0 appeared on BeDepot. Gobe has been very quiet since then, much like Be itself. To help us celebrate the relaunch of BeGroovy, Gobe has broken that silence, and given us an interview with Gobe engineer Tom Hoke about the next release of Productive, and the future of Gobe in general.

1. Hi there. Before we get started, why don’t you give us a brief history of Gobe for the new Be’ers, and let everyone know exactly what you do there.

Gobe Software was founded by the same core engineers who created
ClarisWorks (these days named AppleWorks). A long time ago in a land
far far away (Texas) we used to work for StyleWare, Inc. doing GSWorks.
That was our first try at truly seemless integration; Apple/Claris was
so impressed they bought our company and hired us in to do MacWorks
version. But the effort died because high ranking marketing types
decided there was no money to be made in the integrated software
market. After all Microsoft Works was clearly the standard… { sound
familiar? :) }

Well a couple of the guys were smart enough to stick with it, left the
company, worked their butts off for more than a year, and then came
back and showed Claris what they’d been up to. For some reason actually
seeing the product was enough to convince the VPs that maybe they could
make some money on such a program. So they regenerated the team from
most of the original StyleWare engineers that had been blown all around
the company; and ClarisWorks 1.0 began. My “reward” for staying with
the company was I was made the manager of the team :) Scott & Bob who
took on all the risk to validate the dream we’d collectively had
rightfully reaped the monetary rewards. Over the course of the next 4
releases of ClarisWorks we blew Microsoft Works clear out of the water.
This is one of only a few success stories I’ve ever seen against the
big giant.

But time changes, and with it invariably Apple/Claris management as
well. In a little over one year 100% of the executive staff changed at
Claris. As time went on the relationship between the ClarisWorks team
and upper management became somewhat strained. Eventually we realized
that if we really wanted to take advantage of all the experience we’d
gathered in doing both GSWorks and ClarisWorks; we needed a new start.
Somehow this never was possible while working at Claris - the next
deadline was always too critical to allow for longer term planning. So
we jumped ship. Scott Holdaway, Scott Lindesy, Bruce Hammond, Carl
Grice, Bob Hearn, and myself created a new company to create the next
generation in integrated software.

We chose BeOS to develop on because it looked very promising, and most
importantly it would allow us some room to grow and develop our
application without fear of being squished by giants while in the
formative phase. Big fish in a little pond strategy. Of course times
were pretty hard; for the first years we lived off our savings.
Eventually we started paying salaries (but not anywhere near what our
skills would command on the open market). Still we got Productive 1.0
out. Then we shipped 2.0. And now we’re working on 3.0. With each step
we’re making progress towards the shared dream of what a complete
integrated solution should look like.

One of the nice things about working at Gobe is I’m no longer being
“rewarded” by being in a managent position. While we’ve hired some non-
engineers in the last year - the company still is very much a
cooperative effort driven by engineering. We each have areas of
expertise within the application. Mine are translation technologies,
style management, and spreadsheet.

2. Productive 2.0 has been out for quite a while. Anticipation of the next version is high. Are you going for a point release (i.e. 2.5) or a full 3.0 release?

We’re focusing on getting a 3.0 release done. Frankly we have too many
things we want to get done to mess around with point releases :)

3. Wow! Are you at liberty to discuss what new features there will be in 3.0? We understand that you are still working on it, but an idea of what things we can expect would be great!

A big part of the 3.0 focus is improving our ability to share
documents. This means a lot of work to improve the HTML, WORD, and
Excel translators, as well as adding a bunch of new translators for
graphics, and the ability to export to PDF. Additionally we’re trying
to make it real easy to handle getting and putting documents directly
to the web.

The remainder of the 3.0 focus falls into the category of continuing to
enrich the existing parts. The chart part in particular will be getting
a very nice make over. Spreadsheet will gain little niceties like
keyboard selection, merging of cells, in-cell editing, and the ability
to lock titles. Word processing enhancements like section control and
“mail merge” will hopefully make the cut as well.

4. The new translators sound great. Are there any specific formats you are going for in graphics translators? Any specific areas of focus for the HTML,WORD and Excel translators? Is the PDF export going to be
via a translator, or built into productive? Will it be usable by other developers? Are you going to have an Import from PDF feature as well?

Well, currently we’re building GIF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, XPM graphic translators. Additionally I’ve created a simple WMF translator that is
used by the WORD translator to open embedded WMF content. Getting graphics to import and export into WORD has been a MAJOR effort. The
WORD file format has never been fully documented and it’s taken a fair amount of hex-dumping and analysis to get this functionality to work. On PDF we’re just focusing on export for this release. The support is built into the app so although the users chooses it in the same manner it’s not really a BeTranslator.

5. You mentioned making it easy to get documents to and from the web. Does this mean a built in ftp function in productive? How are you looking at implementing this? Application specific or system wide?

This means having both HTTP and FTP client support built into the app.
Writing little clients to handle this turned out to be remarkably simple with the BeOS networking classes. In fact there are several
examples of how to create simple clients in some of the older Be developer newsletters.

6. the features you mention for the existing parts are all sure to compliment the already great components. One of interest is “mail merge” : How are you planning to read the data? (i.e From external
comma delminated files, from people files, or from a third party db?

This feature is still in the highly experimental stage. Currently we’re
thinking you would select a file to merge your document against, as long as we can open it as a spreadsheet document you’d be able to merge against it.

7. You mentioned an overhaul of the Chart section. What can you tell us about the enhancements you are making to that?

Well as you may have noticed the Chart part never really behaved in the
“correct” integrated fashion. Creating a new chart would activate like other active frame types, you couldn’t directly select things on the chart and use the format bars to modify them. You couldn’t apply styles to chart elements, etc. Chart will now behave like a properly integrated part with respect to general Productive UI rules. Additionally we’ve done a lot of cleaning up of the code base for it so it should be easier to continue improving it going forward. Pretty much Chart now becomes a full fledged member of the Gobe parts family.

8. Besides Productive, You have expanded into distribution of other
products, such as BeOS Professional, and Corum III from Next Generation
Entertainment. How have these deals worked for you, and do you see
yourself distributing more products in the future?

Distribution of BeOS Pro has been reasonably good for us. As you can
imagine it’s a big task for a small company like Gobe, but we staffed
up to handle the distribution (mostly some much needed non-engineers).
While we may never see a profit on Corum III directly once you figure
all the costs; they’re is a great deal of value in just having another
nice piece of boxed software we can put on the shelves next to GP, and
BeOS Pro. It’s a great game with wonderful graphics and very
addicting… ( they say I may come out of recovery soon… :)

9. What kind of promotion are you doing or planning to do for BeOS and
your other products?

Well I wouldn’t be the expert to ask. Peggy is our dedicated marketing
person. She’s come up with several different promotions; some of the
ones I know of off the top of my head are the Dr. Dobbs ads, end-caps
at various stores, e-mail marketing campaigns, and various bundle
deals. It’s definitly still the case though that the BeOS user
community is our best source of marketing. It’s hard to get above the
noise threshold, and nothing compares to having someone walk you
through why BeOS kicks butt on that ol’ tired OS you’ve been using.

[Editors Note: We asked Peggy the same question, and she replied:]

“We’re currently working on ads for BeRADIO that will run through December
with plans to release banners ads on that site through the first quarter of
2001. We’re running a rebate program with Best Buy stores through the end of
January, magazine ads in Dr Dobbs Journal, ads in Micro Center’s Broadsheet
through the holidays. We continue to update the Be community through the use
of targeted email offers and announcements.”

10. If the community is the best marketing, as you say, what can we
do to help grow the BeOS market?

What BeOS Developers most need is more users. We’ve always known that a
new OS has a huge chicken-egg (developers-clients) problem. There is no
easy solution. Collectively we need to grow the user base. That’s it.

Stay positive. New users for the most part don’t know anything about
some focus-shift that happened way back when. What they know is what
they experience from playing with BeOS (do you still remember how
exciting that first time was), and what they hear from the user
community. I haven’t seen that new movie Pay it Forward (something like
that - if you know the exact name Ryan please insert) - but the premise
would seem to apply to evanglizing any great idea (including BeOS). New
users need a “reality” check like a kick in the head. If it’s not going
to work for them - they’ll figure that out pretty quick - but for many
users BeOS (with GP :) does most of the things they’ll need.

11. Do you have any input into the development of BeOS? Are there any
new features you can tell us about, or any plans for it’s future?

We’re definitly one of the larger application efforts and to date Be
has been very helpful to us. In the past we’ve filed a lot of bug
reports and for the most part they have been fixed. As for insider
knowledge of where Be’s taking BeOS - we know about as much as anyone
else out there in the developer community. Of course the good news is
that R5 set a pretty good stake in the ground. Other than Open-GL and
BONE which are both coming, there aren’t very areas where you’re just
plain stuck waiting for Be to finish something critical in the OS. Most
of the comments seem to be of the Be should provide “X” application or
“Y” feature in their browser variety. The thing to note is that there
isn’t anything keeping someone else from providing those services.

12. What would you say to the community to calm down the nay sayers,
who are convinced BeOS is dead. Is BeOS dead as a desktop OS for non
BeIA developers?

Personally speaking, if they really think BeOS is dead I would ask
them to peacefully go back to whatever OS they came from ( a few months
of that might bring them back :) . If BeOS succeeds it won’t be on the
backs of those who know everything about why it won’t happen or can’t
be done or who’s fault it is. I really love the US Bank ads…. to
paraphrase “for all those people who tell you it can’t be done;
remember how many times they’ve been wrong”. For me the biggest danger
to BeOS is the death of the BeOS community. It’s the community that has
been doing such a great job of evangelizing the product to date. Even
before the focus-shift Be’s biggest marketing advantage was it’s users
and their desire to share the BeOS experience, to let people know they
really have a choice, to create a new environment not dominated by
lemming thinking.

13. Where do you see BeOS, Productive, and Gobe in 1 year? how about 3
and 5 years?

Ask me again in a year :)

Thanks Tom! We’re gonna hold you to that!

So there you have it… Gobe is working hard on several great new features for 3.0 including:

Please note that these features are NOT final, and NOT guarantees. This is simply an insight into what Gobe hopes to have in the next release. Everything here is subject to change. That said, it’s looking pretty nice. :)

We would like to thank Tom Hoke and Gobe Software for taking the time to talk with us today.

If you have a question for Tom that we didnt ask, he has agreed to follow the comments on this article and answer whatever he can. This is your chance to ask about Productive 3.0, Gobe, and anything else you can think of. So get posting!

70 Responses to “Gobe Interview - First Productive 3.0 Details”

  1. Rogier Says:

    Gobe for Windows / Linux and Chart things

    First post ;-)

    Hi, Tom and Nutcase, thank you both very much for the great interview! It is great to see that Gobe is still feeling so strong about BeOS, and I agree totally with Tom that 5.0 is solid enough to do everything we want.

    I missed a big rumor: is it true that Gobe Productive 3.0 will also be released for Windows and Linux?

    Oh and ah, when does the beta testing starts ;-)

  2. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To Rogier @ 11/13/2000 04:33:41 AM

    Re: Gobe for Windows / Linux and Chart things

    I will let Tom handle the question about windows/linux… but as far as the beta testing, i just want to point out that this interview discusses VERY early stuff. The things discussed in the article are not guarantees at all. They are an indication of where Gobe is aiming for. So beta testing is probably a LONG way off. :P

  3. Kristan Slack Says:

    Wordprocessor features

    Hi Tom,

    I was wondering if you guys are planning on adding features such as bulleted lists and numbered lists into Productive’s WP?? It’s one of the features that made me have to switch to Word for the final compilation of my university thesis.

    Also, how about Tables for headings that can be autogenerated? This would be a wonderful feature for large documents as well (and tables for figures).

    Thanks - and btw, the PDF export feature sounds wonderful!


  4. Eugenia Says:

    Regarding the Linux version

    Questions for Mr Hoke:
    I heard that you are using GTK for the Linux version of Productive. Why don’t you use QT instead? QT is much more similar to the BeOS way of doing things (OOP) which is a good way to have a “more” common source tree. Especially now that QT 2.2 has been GPLed, it really beats GTK hands down on almost every aspect and it is the toolkit of choice for the Linux development.
    Another question is about the Windows version. Are you using MFC? Was it hard to convert the BeOS sources to MFC?

  5. Scott B Says:

    MS Office translators

    Is Gobe willing/able/considering looking at the open source OpenOffice (StarOffice) filters for MS Office documents as a base for your translators, or at least “borrowing” some of the functionality from the OpenOffice filters? They are very good and very mature. No need to re-invent the wheel.

  6. Benno Says:

    PDF Export

    The PDF export feature looks great! With this and html export Gobe looks like a good option for program documentation and help files. Export to html for online reference, to pdf for printable.

  7. voidref Says:

    In Response To Benno @ 11/13/2000 09:34:37 AM

    Re: PDF Export

    If Gobe had a PDF importer it would be great! The current PDF solution, while readable if I zoom to like 178% is OK, I feel that the engineers at Gobe have a much better grasp of rasterization, and I would finally be able to read PDFs decently in BeOS.

    In any case, I am happy to hear about the HTML and PDF capabilites for Productive, bravo!

  8. Big Al Says:

    In Response To Scott B @ 11/13/2000 09:02:37 AM

    Re: MS Office translators

    IANAL, but I know that for certain open licenses if you ‘borrow’ code you’re in violation of the open license and hence have to open up the source to whatever program used the stolen code. I don’t know much of anything about what GPL Star Office was released with but I’m guessing this isn’t something Gobe could just take.

  9. Digger Says:

    GoBe is wonderful!


    I sat down this past weekend (Nov 11-12) and used my newly registered version of 2.0 to put together a 20 page package of information for some clients. This included: Graphics, Tables, Charts, Paragraphs and a Spreadsheet.

    I had to ask some questions on BeShare (thanks guys!) on how to do a few things, but overall things were very intuitive and it all worked like a charm!

    A few things I would like to ask for/have in the next version:

    (a) A better manual. I like the slick paper 2.0 is printed on, but it’s a tad ‘light’.

    (b) Perhaps some kind of DTP program? I was able to accomplish what I needed to do with GoBe 2.0, but felt that there were a few things I had to ‘fake’ because I didn’t have a ‘real’ DTP program. I realize that’s a serious undertaking, but I can always dream right? :-)

    (c) a Microsoft Access reader/importer. A client gave me an Access ‘database’ and of course, I couldn’t use it.

    (d) Importer/reader for Corel WP files (had problems with that as well)

    (e) The ability to do a wildcard search and replace. For example, anything contained within brackets, or between ( ).

    As an aside, GoBe reads/imports AMIPro files very cleanly. I (of course) had to remove the formatting, but the text was all there and that was nice. Many of the formatting labels were contained within , hence my request for wildcard searches.

    Thanks SO much for a great office suite! Keep up the *fantastic* work!


  10. Sean Long Says:

    BeOS r5pro sales

    Mr. Hoke,

    Thank you for producing such a great product and being a software leader in the Be community. My question to you is can you report how many BeOS users there are? Or at least how many have bought r5pro from Gobe? As a developer I find it frustrating not knowing how big my target market is. If you do not have this information do you think Be would and if so who would I need to contact to get that type of information?

    Sean Long
    Hailstone Software

  11. Zaranthos Says:

    Spreadsheet feature

    I *need* linked cells. Change a cell on page one and pages 2-5 are all updated dynamically. In Excel it’s called “paste as link”. I need this really, really bad so you better get it in 3.0 or I’ll slit my wrists. :P

  12. Zaranthos Says:

    Spreadsheet feature

    I *need* linked cells. Change a cell on page one and pages 2-5 are all updated dynamically. In Excel it’s called “paste as link”. I need this really, really bad so you better get it in 3.0 or I’ll slit my wrists. :P

  13. Zaranthos Says:

    In Response To Zaranthos @ 11/13/2000 11:23:14 AM

    Re: Spreadsheet feature

    Ha! Bug report! I hit refresh after posting and now I have two of the same post? Hmm, better clear my cache and check this out.

  14. Brian Morris Says:


    A feature I would really like to see implemented, and should be relatively simple to do:

    I emailed Gobe about this a year ago and was told it was on the list for the next release. Is this still true?

  15. vivid Says:

    productive suggestions

    I like productive a lot, but there are a few features that would make it truly a complete office replacement for me.
    - bulleted/numbered lists
    - spellcheck-as-you-type (like word’s red underlines)
    - tables with individually resizable cells
    - a different combo box for fonts would be wonderful. it’s very tiresome having to hold my mouse over the down arrow to scroll down a long list of fonts and not being able to type font names and have it scroll.

    Anyway, that’s pretty much my wish list. I’ve enjoyed Productive immensely and am looking forward to 3.

  16. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Rogier @ 11/13/2000 04:33:41 AM

    Re: Gobe for Windows / Linux and Chart things

    Gobe has not “officially” stated that we are doing either Windows or Linux version of GP. So it must still be just a rumor.

    Beta testing will start when we get to Beta.

    How’s that for two solid non-answers. :)

    Seriously, when the time comes for beta testing we will probably do some limited external beta testing like we’ve done with previous versions. We’ll have to finish getting to alpha before that happens.


  17. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Kristan Slack @ 11/13/2000 05:45:45 AM

    Re: Wordprocessor features

    We definitely want to add support for bulleted and numbered paragraphs into WP. It’s not clear whether that will be in 3.0 or post 3.0 at this time.

    As for autogenerated tables - perhaps you could send me an e-mail with more details about what kind of functionality in specific you need. That way we can put it on the back burner for post-3.0.

    Thanks for the feedback and support,

  18. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Eugenia @ 11/13/2000 07:22:15 AM

    Re: Regarding the Linux version

    As a BeOS only developer here at Gobe I couldn’t really answer those questions even if we had an “official” position on such ports. :)
    If we do announce such efforts in the future I would welcome you to ask again. (but it won’t be me doing the answering :)


  19. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Scott B @ 11/13/2000 09:02:37 AM

    Re: MS Office translators

    Since we don’t want to GPL infect GP we have to be very careful about “borrowing” technology from StarOffice. I am actively following their efforts at defining an XML standard for office productivity.
    I believe our own translators are evolving quite well, sometimes if you want to tires to fit well you do have to re-invent the wheel.

    Thanks for your support,

  20. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Sean Long @ 11/13/2000 10:59:53 AM

    Re: BeOS r5pro sales

    As you noted the only hard number we have is how many users have actually purchased R5 Pro from us. I would suggest you send mail to peggy@gobe.com for more information.

    Thanks for the nice words,

  21. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Zaranthos @ 11/13/2000 11:11:28 AM

    Re: Spreadsheet feature

    Note in GP 2.0:

    You can already use syntax like:

    sheetName!cell-range-name to reference cells in other sheets. (e.g. =sum(Sheet 1!a2..b4) )

    Additionally you can assign a name to any range of cells and reference them by name:
    where ‘CompanyResults’ is a named that refers to cells in a spreadsheet somewhere in the document.


  22. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Brian Morris @ 11/13/2000 11:27:36 AM

    Re: Autosave

    Well, the debug version we use in house actually has an auto save to /tmp. But we have yet to put a full user UI around this feature. It’s not a high priority - but given that the guts of the feature are mostly done - and since you expressed an interest we’ll hopefully get it into 3.0.


  23. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To vivid @ 11/13/2000 11:46:58 AM

    Re: productive suggestions

    Thanks for the suggestions. It’s always been a big help to us that our users care enough to help us prioritize which features our Office suite really needs.


  24. member of unwashed masses Says:

    style dialogs

    i really do like almost everything in gobe, and i am very glad i spent the money to buy it. overall, it is a great product, and i am looking forward to continuing to support gobe, not only in productive but also all the other products they are able to help bring to market.

    tom, you say you are involved with the style management areas of productive. by and large, i like the way the styles work, but sometimes it is very clumsy to modify things. it isn’t very intuitive to have to bring up the style you’re interested in, then go all the way over to a menu to modify something. i really hope some effort is being done to allow people to simply (double)click on the style attribute they’re interested in right in the style dialog, and have to right setting dialog come up. eventually, i get used to the current way, but i still very often find myself double-clicking on the attribute first…

  25. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To Zaranthos @ 11/13/2000 11:24:43 AM

    Re: Spreadsheet feature

    At some point down the road, i will put a post duplication check in. But there are a few other bugs i have found that takes priority. For example, when logged in to our administration system, I can’t post comments. Luckily most of the bugs dont seem to be bugs for the readers. :)

  26. Phil Says:

    Thanks for the interview

    Productive 3 may well be added to my long list of things to buy in my quest to leave windoze.

    btw, how about how using your incredible skills to bring Be another web browser?

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Two idle thoughts

    First, one complaint about BeOS apps is the lack of a common set of icons for apps to use to perform similar tasks (save, open, cut, copy, paste, etc.)

    Since GP seems to be the current leader among commercial BeOS apps, maybe Gobe could consider releasing a free icon set as a de facto standard that other applications could use. I realize that GP doesn’t seem to have all of these icons, but nonetheless I think Gobe would be the logical choice to provide such icons if Be doesn’t do it.

    Second (totally unrelated) - I think BeOS needs a bibliographic database program along the lines of EndNote or Referance Manager. Does GP’s design lend itself to adding another module with this functionality? If Gobe doesn’t want to or have time to do this, could a third party write something like this that would still seem nicely integrated?

  28. Andrew Says:

    Word processing features

    I only use the word processor element of Productive and frankly don’t do so as often as I’d hoped. 3 rather basic problems which I find offputting:-

    1. It won’t save templates such as my headed notepaper, so every document has to be started with a copy and paste from a master copy - and even then the margins have to be reset manually.

    2. It won’t remember 11 point font size.

    3. Printing is so cumbersome - at least with the BeOS Epson drivers it seems to take 6 mouse clicks to print a single page document. That includes setting the print speed to fast each time because the setting is not retained. I was told by a Be engineer that it was up to the individual application to support retention of the print settings. At least if Productive was compliant in this respect it would cut down the mouse clicks to 5, but even so that’s far (4?) too many!

    Can I hope that all or any of these minor but so annoying shortcomings will be fixed in Productive 3 - or better still am I missing something and can I overcome them in Productive 2??

  29. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To Andrew @ 11/13/2000 5:21:35 PM

    Re: Word processing features

    Andrew - as far as the template thing, the latest open tracker has a template function. You could copy a master document there, and it would automatically copy and open it, so that you could work from there. Admittedly, its a hack, but it could work.

  30. OJ Dorson Says:

    Merge from People Files

    Hey Gobe,
    BeOS is the first platform that I have spent more than $5 total on software for. I am very glad to be spending said dough on incredible apps like GP. I grew up on ClarisWorks, and am very excited to see you guys still developing the most awesome productivity suite on any platform.

    About the Merge Data function. . . It would be awesome to open a new document (an envelope template, or letter) and just drag a person into it from the people directory and get all the important data perfectly fomatted -
    FirstName LastName
    City, State Zip

    The different templates could respect the BeOS file attributes so you could have different styles of letters like Personal, Business, Formal, etc. Each one would pull only the attributes that it needed. But the big thing is that you could just drag the people right in. It would also need support for multiple people (form letter style).
    I realy feel like there isn’t much to do with the People files except maintain a rolodex and the email clients really seem to like them.

    Thanks again for the wonderful software that helps me stay in BeOS for more than 98% of what I do!

  31. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Phil @ 11/13/2000 3:40:31 PM

    Re: Thanks for the interview

    Instead of buying 3.0 could I suggest upgrading to 3.0 from a purchased copy of 2.0 :)

    It’s hard enough competing with a low priced product. Somehow I don’t think the free browser market is going to keep the family fed.

    Note however that the Mozilla effort is still making good progress…


  32. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 11/13/2000 5:00:39 PM

    Re: Two idle thoughts

    Before we create a customized DB application for Biliographic info it’s much more likely we’ll try to create a general DB solution. It’s one of the parts I think would most benefit our users.

    Thanks for you suggestion,

  33. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Andrew @ 11/13/2000 5:21:35 PM

    Re: Word processing features

    Using 2.0 you can do the following:

    1. Make sure you have a folder named Defaults in the Gobe Productive folder.
    2. Configure a new WP document just the way you like - headers, styles, initial font size, etc.
    3. Save this document with the name
    “Word Processing Default” in the previously mentioned Defaults folder.

    Now any time you create a new WP document it will use your document as auto-stationary template.

    In 3.0 we support user defined templates as well. But this 2.0 feature should solve most of your problem.


  34. Celerick Stephens Says:

    Window settings

    I absolutely love Gobe Productive 2.0. I can only see things getting better in 3.0 (I’ll be in line with my wallet, just let me know when :)

    For Productive 3.0, is Gobe considering having Productive remember its window settings? Not like size and position, but starting each new document with things like the ’sheet bar’, ‘format bar’, and graphics ruler active.

    Also, it seems when large graphics are imported to productive (like using a targa for stationery) Productive really gets bogged down and takes a long time to save. Are any optimizations being done in that area? Also, if the long saves are difficult to work around, could there be a progress bar to ensure the user that it’s working on it.

    Thanks, and by all means, keep up the good work!

  35. Xcott Says:

    Animated GIFs? Etc?


    I had to give a presentation about a month ago and used Gobe Productive (my laptop is weird, and got screwed up when I tried to toggle the LCD/VGA mode, so I just rebooted and was back where I was in the presentation 15 seconds later. HA! A Windows lockup can stretch a presentation an extra five minutes!)

    Anyways, my question is about GoBe support of animated GIFs. Presentations often have little graphical meatballs, and sometimes they are subtle animated meatballs. Right now my only option for an animated GIF in a presentation in BeOS is to make the presentation in HTML and view it in Opera, which crashes mightily and has a maximum font size just a shade too small.

    In fact, I just opened GoBe to double-check the documentation, and “Help” launched Opera, my default browser, which promptly crashed. Maybe I better upgrade. Will Gobe support animated GIFs?

  36. Alencious Says:

    Equation editor

    Hi, Tom
    Is there any equation editor included in 3.0? I am an engineering student and equation editor is the most important thing to me.

  37. LeftTurn Says:

    Productive is good, but…

    Excellent interview and thank you Tom for coming out and setting things straight about the BeOS community. Most of the things I’m looking to be improved on were already mentioned, but here’s my list:

    *Improved printer driver integration (ie; lessen those mouse clicks!)

    *A database type app. That would really come in handy.

    *Native WordPerfect and Quattro Pro import support.

    *Haven’t tested it yet as it currently is, but some integration with the PIM Personal Assistant to have the data, such as a customer’s name and mailing address, automatically filled in at the top of a letter document. Kind like how ACT 2000 does it in Office 2000.

    *And I know this is stretching it, but how about some fax support? It’d be nice to be able to directly shoot a fax out of your program. :)

  38. F. Robert Falbo Says:

    feature request

    Tom, (and Nutcase) thanks very much for the informative interview. One item I have yet to see mentioned is the 4th side of the “Office” suite… an integrated database. This is the one app that’s kept me tied to OS/2. I’m not asking for a version of Filemaker Pro on BeOS (would be nice though), but right now there’s a big hole in the BeOS SOHO solution.

  39. Phil Greenway Says:

    Gobe 3.0

    I’ll be happy when Gobe supports merged cells with spreadsheets and according to Tom — that’s going to be in 3.0 so I can’t wait.

    I use this feature all the time, so I don’t use GP all that often. I use Excel 2000. Which is a shame because I purchased Gobe 2 on the priviso that it would be able to view Excel 97 spreadsheets and merged cells has been supported since Office 97.

    Oh well … I hope the upgrade path isn’t too expensive — especially to us, NON-US countries.

  40. F. Robert Falbo Says:

    feature request

    Tom, (and Nutcase) thanks very much for the informative interview. One item I have yet to see mentioned is the 4th side of the “Office” suite… an integrated database. This is the one app that’s kept me tied to OS/2. I’m not asking for a version of Filemaker Pro on BeOS (would be nice though), but right now there’s a big hole in the BeOS SOHO solution.

  41. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Celerick Stephens @ 11/13/2000 8:00:28 PM

    Re: Window settings

    You can already achieve the window settings result you want by defining auto stationery for the type of document. Make sure you have a Defaults folder in the GP folder. To have new WP documents open configured a certain way create a new WP doc, set it the way you like, and then save to Word Processing Default (in the Defaults folder). Next time you say “new wp” it will use your saved document as a starting point. Same with other document types.

    The big images problem is not one we’ll be tackling for 3.0. To do this correctly you have to have some tiling scheme where you only keep a portion of the image in memory. Our image processing part is just that. It wasn’t designed as a replacement for a full color paint module. (though we could add one later :)


  42. Pieter Says:

    In Response To Tom Hoke @ 11/14/2000 07:47:53 AM

    Re: Tom Hoke for President!

    Now that’s confusing… Which one is which? :)


  43. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Xcott @ 11/13/2000 8:49:38 PM

    Re: Animated GIFs? Etc?

    Perhaps. Our new GIF translator does support getting the bitmaps for animated images - but we don’t currently have a component appropriate for editing or viewing such items. Clearly long term we would like to have support for animated content.


  44. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Alencious @ 11/13/2000 9:08:37 PM

    Re: Equation editor

    We are doing some serious research into creating an Equation editor part. It’s not clear at this time whether it will be completed in time to ship with 3.0.

    We’ve had many users request this feature, so you’re in good company.

  45. hackborn Says:

    be like me

    Kudos for one of Be’s finest apps and my favorite office suite on any platform. Thanks much for all the hard work, Tom! Now, a very minor request: I get a little annoyed wading through Open… file dialogs every time I want to open a new document, so I have something implemented in an app I wrote to help manage it. It allows users to configure a preference which then appears in the File menu of their main window. Users can select either a query or folder from their file system, then the results of performing the query or opening the folder get displayed as a submenu in a new File menu item generated by the preference. That’s probably a poor description, so I put up a little screenshot so you can see what I’m talking about:


    Just a thought. Keep up the great work!
    eric hackborn

    (incidentally, if you’re actually interested in using this technique, you’re welcome to the code)

  46. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To Nutcase @ 11/13/2000 3:24:27 PM

    Re: Spreadsheet feature

    Just implemented version one point oh of the fix for this problem. Should be a no-brainer, but some would say that means my version is full of bugs. So if you find a problem anywhere regarding posting, or with double posts showing up, let me know. :)

  47. Rogier Says:

    In Response To Nutcase @ 11/13/2000 04:51:53 AM

    Re: Gobe for Windows / Linux and Chart things

    I had put “:-)” at the end to make clear I made a joke ;-)

  48. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To Rogier @ 11/14/2000 02:05:09 AM

    Re: Gobe for Windows / Linux and Chart things

    I know. i was using it as an opportunity to let everyone else know too. just as a friendly reminder, for Tom’s sake.

    And while you were joking, i am sure you wouldn’t object to beta testing if offered. :P

  49. Salvo Says:

    Back in the good-old days

    IIRC, ClarisWorks 3.5 for Windows was the first commercial software I purchased (besides Windows and DOS which came bundled). The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it used non-standard translation Filters (the MS Word/MS Works filter were the standard on Windows - With the MS Word 2000 Viewer, you can save a file from MS Word 2.0 in the Word 2000 format). Since this was a problem with MS not releasing enough information on these Filters, I decided to Perservere.

    I continued using ClarisWorks until I bent one of the floppy disks (yes you could get ClarisWorks on Floppy, rather than CD-ROM) and couldn’t install it again after Windows required re-installation one time.

    Since then I’ve used WordPerfect 7,8,9 and MS Word 2,6,’97 and they haven’t even come close to the stability and integration of ClarisWorks. I purchased GoBe Productive 2.01 last week, and it reminds me of the good old days. Unfortunatly, the good-old days are old, and although Productive is a great application, and has a smaller footprint for all it’s features than other Suites with just the WordProcessor, I still consider it Bloatware. (I also consider SoundPlay Bloatware, but That’s my opinion)

    Since BeOS isn’t a generic Desktop OS, but a Media-Specialist OS, I don’t expect it to have COM-style communcation between applications like MS OLE or CORBA, so Bloatware like Productive belongs here. I encourage everyone to go out and purchase Productive. And while you’re there, get Corum III and BeOS R5 Pro.

  50. Yves Crevecoeur Says:

    In Response To voidref @ 11/13/2000 09:51:19 AM

    Re: PDF Export

    Don’t worry!

    I believe Be Inc. will provide an excellent PDF reader because I read that they provided one in BeIA. That’s probably the reason Gobe is not providing one.

    Note that even Adobe does not really have a PDF importer for windows. When you put a doc out in PDF format, you don’t what it to be edited by others! You can always go back to the Gobe original and put out a revised PDF doc.

    The way you create a PDF in Windows is you “Print” your doc from any app to a “PDF printer driver” which outputs it to a PDF file. The advantage there is that any app can create a PDF.

    Considering all the capabilities of Gobe Productive (Integrated WP, Image Proc, SpreadSheet, Drawing etc.) you will be able to create some nice PDF documents with BeOS / BeIA.


  51. El-Al Says:

    Tom Hoke for President!

    …nothing more to say except…Tom, your tireless committment to this community is a credit to you. It never ceases to amaze me!

  52. Alex Says:

    In Response To Tom Hoke @ 11/13/2000 2:45:42 PM

    Re: Wordprocessor features

    if he is anything like me, I think he probably means tables of contents or indexes that can be generated automatically from heading styles.

    Ironically, this is the major win that MS-Word has for me over most of the DTP packages readily available, and it would be *very* useful to have in GP.


  53. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To El-Al @ 11/14/2000 04:29:03 AM

    Re: Tom Hoke for President!

    Hey, I’ll vote for Tom Hoke for President. After all: he’s my son!

    Tom Hoke, Senior

  54. Jace Says:

    In Response To Tom Hoke @ 11/13/2000 3:13:55 PM

    Re: Autosave

    I would like to see that as well. I am trying to sell my mother on BeOS and GoBe Productive and an autosave feature would save her from herself…

  55. Steve Vivian Says:

    In Response To vivid @ 11/13/2000 11:46:58 AM

    Re: productive suggestions

    I use Productive 2.0 for word processing and heartily agree with the suggestions, esp. red-lining misspellings. It’s a “small” feature that becomes awfully important with longer documents.

    I very much look forward to purchasing 3.0…as so many others have correctly observed, the combo of BeOS and Productive is a real pleasure to use: super stable, fast, and just plain fun.

    Thanks, Tom, for your attention to the BeOS and Productive users out here.


  56. Steve Vivian Says:

    Productive Suggestions

    Tom, thanks a lot for showing up here at the (new improved!) site and answering so many questions. It’s terrific!

    I use Productive 2.0 mostly for word processing and on occasion some graphics tossed in. I’ve two (hopefully) simple suggestions. Others have made them, but what the heck:

    1. Spell-as-you go (the redlining of misspellings)

    2. Bullets

    I also, in the past, have wanted a third item: PDF export, but that’ll be in 3.0…great news.


  57. Watts Martin Says:

    A moderately simple request :)

    The “spell as you go” feature is something that annoys me in practice, personally, but there’s a feature in a DOS word processor I’ve used (and still use occasionally) that’s pretty cool. There are keyboard shortcuts for checking the current word with both the spellchecker and thesaurus. If you’re unsure about a word, it makes changing it trivial. If you press Ctrl-? (the “check single word” function) and the word is in its dictionary, it just prints “OK” to the status line and you can keep typing. From a UI standpoint that’s vastly preferable to a dialogue box popping up to say “OK.” :)

    I’m a big fan of keyboard shortcuts in general–that word processor lets you navigate and select by character, word, clause, sentence or paragraph. Doing all that and staying within CUA guidelines is easier said than done, but a way to move/select by sentence units would be nice.

    I’ve poked the feature request department at Gobe about getting scriptability in place, perhaps similar to Becasso’s (a really good use of the native BeOS scripting functionality), so I’ll just mention it in passing again. :)

  58. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To hackborn @ 11/14/2000 12:53:16 AM

    Re: be like me


    Linked. :) A few html tags work in comments. links, bold, italic, etc. :)

  59. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Watts Martin @ 11/14/2000 09:09:31 AM

    Re: A moderately simple request :)

    On keyboard shortcuts… One of the problems with having a fully integrated environment is you have to be very careful about shortcut use so you don’t end up in a state where two features are both available at the same time with the same shortcut, while at the same time trying to keep most of the “standard” keys.

    I’ll have the check singe word feature request added to the SCR database. But it’s more likely we’ll add spell as you go at some point. It’s a nice feature.

    Obviously you can use the arrow and option arrow keys to do character and word selection. With command arrows doing start and end of line. Perhaps it would be nice to configure these keys somewhat.

    Scriptability is like the Holy Grail for us. We like doing things well, but with the scope of Gobe Productive a complete scripting solution would probably be an entire verions in and of itself.

    Thanks for your great feedback,

  60. Wis Says:

    In Response To Tom Hoke @ 11/13/2000 2:55:43 PM

    Re: MS Office translators

    When OpenOffice.org opened its doors, there was an official statement from Scott McNealy (Sun’s CEO) which said somathing like :

    now that our Ms translators are opensource, people will be able to look at them and create their own and, thus, break the Ms lock.

    So I think you should definitively look directly at the source and improve your translators with the information you’ll find.

  61. Nimdok Says:

    In Response To OJ Dorson @ 11/13/2000 6:05:11 PM

    Re: Merge from People Files

    That is a smooth idea man :)

  62. Pieter Says:

    In Response To hackborn @ 11/14/2000 12:53:16 AM

    Re: be like me

    Hey, that’s a sweet idea… I can just see My Documents… OOPS.. /boot/home/docs in that list :)


  63. kurt von finck Says:

    In Response To Tom Hoke @ 11/14/2000 07:47:53 AM

    Re: Tom Hoke for President!

    careful what you wish for. i work with tom every day, and he is a power hungry megalomaniac bent on world domination. he sees himself as bigger than life and better than you. he will stop at nothing to fulfill his evil aims.

    which is why we call him “bill gates” around the water cooler. ;-)

    just kidding folks! tom’s a great guy, and his willingness to spend the time he does doing things like this interview and subsequent forum postings says a lot about him. he’s just one more reason i love my job!


  64. Salvo Says:

    Module and Field Extensability

    Is it possible to create custom Modules and Fields?
    I think being able to insert BFS attributes as Fields would be good.

    Being able to have the footer of a document as something like:
    [filename] page [page] of [pagenum] [Author]

    Also, a File > Properties menu option would be good, which can hold details like Author, Subject, Keyword, etc, which are also BFS attributes.

    A Replicant Module would be more universal than the Clock Module.

  65. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Salvo @ 11/16/2000 6:30:27 PM

    Re: Module and Field Extensability

    A replicant part… intriguing idea.

    Generic document properties you can reference - doc summary info stuff… hmmm. Worth thinking about.

    PS: you know you can insert formula’s right? And those formulas can use the SYSTEM function to do anything you can do in the bash shell…

    Thanks for the cool ideas,

  66. Rogier Says:

    In Response To Nutcase @ 11/14/2000 02:38:32 AM

    Re: Gobe for Windows / Linux and Chart things

    Well I made it into the last beta-test, so why not this time? :-)

  67. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To Tom Hoke @ 11/17/2000 01:54:37 AM

    Re: Module and Field Extensability

    Tom.. those ideas Salvo had are freakin amazing!

    PLEASE add them. :)

  68. Tom Hoke Says:

    In Response To Salvo @ 11/16/2000 6:30:27 PM

    Re: Module and Field Extensability

    So I took at BeShelf’s and Replicants. It looks like it would be pretty tricky. Replicant’s are great when the target window is made out of simple BViews. But that would not be the case for a frame inside of a GP document. I could attach a view to an offscreen bitmap but I don’t think it could then be targeted as a “drop” location for replicants.

    So this may be a cool idea that’s not really feasible. :(


  69. Charlie Clark Says:

    In Response To OJ Dorson @ 11/13/2000 6:05:11 PM

    Re: Merge from People Files

    If you see my sample script at http://www.begeistert.org/scripting/examples.en.html you’ll see how you can do data merging using CSV. Extending this cover people files should be fairly straightforward.


  70. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Tom Hoke @ 11/13/2000 2:45:42 PM

    Re: Wordprocessor features

    Hi, I there’s one feature I would *really* like
    to see in Gobe 3.0 - support for equations.

    I teach a technical subject, and the one thing
    holding me back from using BeOS and Gobe 2.0 for
    all my handouts, homework assignments, and exam
    papers is the fact that I cannot find a way to
    insert an equation using the word processor in
    Gobe 2.0.

    I realize I probably represent a minority (tech.
    writer) in a minority (BeOS user), but there must
    be other folks out there who need this feature, too.


[powered by WordPress.]

Random Haiku:

You, sick of Windows
BeOS, solution of dreams
Change, open your mind

Since 1998 - Until the Last User Leaves...
BeGroovy, established 1998

search BeGroovy:

BeGroovy Archives:

December 2019
« Sep    


22 queries. 0.073 seconds

[powered by WordPress.]