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Gary Edwards
Works at Native Documents
Attended SUNY
Lives in Redwood City, CA
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Gary Edwards

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Ian Paul has an interesting post at PC World, "Gmail adds one-click editing ability for Microsoft Office attachments".  He makes the point that that Google Drive, Gmail and Google Docs have to be able to work with Microsoft Office documents because "Microsoft Office formats are the default choice for most of the working world."

The problem is that when Google "edits" these native Office documents, they convert the original format to the Google "bespoken" format.  Then they offer to convert it back to the original format at the end of the editing-collaboration process.

There is a simple rule at work here. Conversion breaks native documents in two ways; layout and round-trip fidelity.  

While breaking layout fidelity might be okay under certain circumstances, breaking round-trip fidelity is a killer for any workflow or business process.  I will explain in a moment.

Ian makes another very surprising point.  One that really caught my attentions.  He states that Google provides "a Chrome extension that let's you edit an office document in its original format."

What?  No conversion?  Direct editing of a native document without breaking it?

That would be extraordinary, but I have yet to see it.  If this were true the Chrome browser would be challenging Office 365, and the Google Cloud would be the darling of the enterprise.

What am I missing here?

As far as I can see, Google is not able to edit Office documents in their original "native" format. Neither Google Docs or the Chrome extension gets the job done.  

This failure is quite easy to demonstrate using the key metrics of layout and round-trip fidelity.

Layout fidelity involves the structural elements of the document such as paragraphs, bullets, ordered lists, image placement, page lengths, page-numbering, tables, footnotes, comments and table-of-contents. (To name but a few :)  The test here is a simple visual inspection. Does it pass the PDF test?

Round-trip fidelity is tested by opening the native document in an MS Office editor "after" editing it in Google Docs or using the Chrome Extension.

Both metrics are essential, but round-trip fidelity is critical to any workflow or business process that the native document fuels.  The bottom line is that if you break the round-trip fidelity, you break the business process and, work stops!

This is why being able to edit native documents in their original format is so important.

Its also why Office 365 on iOS is such a screaming must-have-no-matter-what-the-cost success.  

There are 1.3 billion business installations of the Microsoft Office productivity system.  The only way a mobile workforce can directly participate in these Office productivity workflows and business processes is to have full access to the native documents that fuel these systems; and do so without breaking layout and round-trip fidelity.  Office 365 provides this high level of mobile support. 

Sadly, as far as I can tell, neither Google Docs or the Chrome Extensions can crack the round-trip native document barrier.  And that's a big problem when it comes to legacy business systems transitioning to the Cloud.  Moving your business systems to the Google Cloud means having to re-write and re-engineer them.  

By way of comparison, Office 365 is a value-added proposition impossible to ignore.

Native documents matter.  Break them and you break the workflow they fuel.  Work stops.  But don't give up Google.  If Office 365 and wordSDK can do this, so can the Googleplex.

~ge~
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Gary Edwards

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Incredible.  Simply incredible.
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Gary Edwards

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Marbux has has been following closely the adventures of Über patriot Edward Snowden and his quest to free us from dark NSA overlords. His latest analysis of Supreme Court rulings is cause for celebration. First that the nations highest court has stood up for individual liberty and the ...
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ruh roh!

If gDocs can work with native MSOffice documents then it's a whole new ball game.  Interestingly this new gDocs feature allows direct editing of a native document without conversion, but does not allow collaborative editing.  Odd that collaboration in gDocs demands conversion?

Here's the money shot:
"Edit and share Office files — without Office  
Sometimes people send you files and you need to be able to open them, make some edits, and send them back. If they don’t use Docs, Sheets and Slides it can be a challenge. Starting today, you no longer have to worry, because both the web and mobile apps for Docs, Sheets, and Slides let you edit Office files—without conversion—so you can now edit and send back files in their original format.
 
The updated mobile apps for Docs, Sheets and Slides come with Office editing built right in, and our new Chrome extension allows you to edit and share files directly from Google Drive, Gmail or from your Chromebook, where the extension is pre-installed. These updates will be available starting today, but may take a couple of days to fully roll out.
 
Of course, if you want to collaborate seamlessly with others at the same time, simply convert the files to Docs, Sheets or Slides."
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Gary Edwards

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Okay.  Here's the thing about wordSDK.com, and the creation of a Silicon Valley company.  Our early experience with wordSDK and the mobile developer - Cloud service provider community makes clear that we need to ramp up.  And ramp up soon.

WordSDK is a portable layout engine for the pixel-perfect rendering and collaborative editing of native WORD documents.  It's very competitive with the WORD layout engine included with Microsoft Office 365.  Both are layout engines designed exactly for the pixel-perfect rendering and editing of native WORD documents.

Everyone who has taken a good look at wordSDK has expressed a concern for us to ramp up and begin work on a complete Office 365 competitive suite.  Of course.  But we are most concerned at the moment with expanding the editing capabilities of wordSDK.

We do believe though that we have the domain expertise to challenge the complete suite of Office 365 capabilities.

There is however a simple truth at work here; the WORD native document layout engine is 80% of the work that needs to be done if the objective is that of a full Office 365 Suite.  The Spreadsheet and Powerpoint editors are nowhere near the challenge that pixel-perfect compatibility and interop with native WORD documents represent.

We will find a way to ramp up and meet the needs of an emerging Cloud Productivity Platform.  For us the first step is incorporating "Native Documents, Inc." as a Silicon Valley company, and positioning wordSDK as our first product.

~ge~
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Gary Edwards

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City Hall claims that users aren't happy with Linux, costs are higher than expected.
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Gary Edwards

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Very funny stuff.  Who would have thought Obama and Kim Jong Un could be so entertaining?
Citing a threat to the leader's dignity, North Korea reportedly asks China to block a video that inserts Kim Jong Un's image into bizarre situations, all set to a bouncy dance track.
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Gary Edwards

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 It's really interesting that Google would use the terms "native documents" and "conversion" of documents.  I wonder where they got that from? :) 

Congrats to Florian Reuter.  Clearly his work has their attention.
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Gary Edwards

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Native Office editing would mean being able to edit and view MSOffice native file formats like .doc and .docx.  This is the Holy Grail of office automation interoperability, and something that neither Google Docs or QuickOffice have ever been able to do.  Not even close.

Like OpenOffice. gDocs and QuickOffice convert native Office documents to enable editing and viewing.  Then they try to convert back.  This conversion breaks both the visual fidelity of the document and the internal business process logic and data bindings. 

Break the document and you break the business process it is part of.  This is the lesson of Massachusetts.  And it is a show stopper for MSOffice alternatives.  Including gDocs and QuickOffice.   Making this mornings announcement very big news.
Google today announced that it will bring native Office editing to its Google Docs cloud service. The company also unveiled a new Android for Work program that will help enterprises ...
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Gary Edwards

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People
In his circles
101 people
Have him in circles
40 people
Liu Huishao's profile photo
Paul Merrell's profile photo
Bharat Kanojia's profile photo
Marilee Edwards's profile photo
Scott Davis's profile photo
Hillary Herman's profile photo
Sofien Boufersen's profile photo
Milo Nickels's profile photo
Stephan Henry's profile photo
Education
  • SUNY
  • Cornell
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Work
Occupation
Technologist
Skills
Integrated productivity platforms, document management
Employment
  • Native Documents
    COO, present
    Native Documents is the maker of wordSDK, a portable collaborative editor of native Office documents featuring pixel-perfect layout and round-trip fidelity. WordSDK is licensed to mobile application developers and Cloud service providers as an easy to embed collaborative native document editor. The pixel-perfect layout and round-trip fidelity achieved by WordSDK is very useful to legacy business systems moving to the Cloud, seeking to extend the reach, usefulness and efficiency of important workflows with a mobile, always connected productivity system.
  • OpenStack Business Systems
    Consultant, 2011
    Design and build of integrated business productivity systems using XML and open source technologies.
  • Sursen, Inc.
    Project Manager
    Research, design and project manager for Surdoc.com
  • Document Wars
    OASIS Open Document Technical Committee; The Open Document Foundation, the da Vinci plug-in for Microsoft Office; and wiki-Word, a collaborative editing plug-in for Microsoft Office and native document web viewer.
  • The Property Transaction Network
    Founder
    Internet based real estate, mortgage and transaction management system. The PTN was acquired by FiNET. After serving as President of the FiNET Internet operations, I joined Jody Lane and Scott Davis at Realty Connection, pushing the original PTN concept to a whole new level of connecting the real estate transaction industry. Related to these efforts are years of writing for Realty Times, mostly about XML and the impact of new technologies on the real estate industry.
  • Virtual Realty, Inc.
    Founder - CTO
    A real estate loan origination and transaction processing system built on a high speed video-conferencing network of real estate brokerages, banks and title companies. This effort began as Software Today, and received significant funding from Intel.
  • The Equity Exchange
    Founder
    Integrated financial services based on the automated real-time analysis of a homeowners networth.
  • PowerLeads! for Real Estate
    Pyramid Data's PowerLeads was the first contact manager for Windows. Prior to the first release, I designed a customized version of the product targeting the real estate sales and transaction management. The interesting thing though was that PowerLeads! put us directly at the center of the then nascent Office Productivity environment. From that incredible vantage point, I saw how Microsoft put the pieces together for the first integrated productivity platform. Today Microsoft is pushing hard to leverage that desktop/server business productivity monopoly into the mobile Cloud revolution. For me, it's deja vu all over again.
  • Millyard Restaurant - Microvertics
    Owner - Operator
    This where I learned that I really love integrated network systems.
Places
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Currently
Redwood City, CA
Previously
Naples, Fl - San Antonio, Tx - Ithaca, NY - West Harwichport, MA - Newport Beach, CA - Halfmoon Bay, CA - Sedona, Az - Eden, NY - Hooksett, NH
Gary Edwards's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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