When it comes to office productivity suites, Microsoft Corp.s Office reigns supreme in many parts of the world. Now, a new group of productivity suite candidates aims to end its dominance in a potentially huge market—China.
eWEEK Labs recently got to test-drive Evermore Integrated Office 2003 from Evermore Software Ltd., of Wuxi, China. The Chinese version of Evermore Integrated Office was released last year; the company is releasing an English version next month.
Evermore is available on a subscription basis for $99 per year. Our tests showed Evermore Integrated Office provides a rudimentary alternative to Microsoft Office for enterprises looking for a choice, although the common user interface lends some elegance to the suite. However, organizations that are just looking for basic word processing and spreadsheet applications can get the same—albeit less polished—capabilities for free in open-source products.
Evermore Integrated Office is written in Java, which enables the suite to run on all operating systems that support Java—including Windows, Linux and Solaris. The company is working with Apple Computer Inc. to develop compatibility with the Mac OS X operating system.
Evermore Integrated Office 2003
Evermore Softwares Java-based Evermore Integrated Office 2003 suite lacks some productivity features but takes integration to a new level: One program interface—and file format—is shared among Evermores various applications. The software is available by subscription for $99 per year, and all patches and new versions are included during the lease period.
EVALUATION SHORT LIST• Corel Corp.s WordPerfect Office • Microsofts Office 2003 • OpenOffice.orgs OpenOffice • Sun Microsystems Inc.s StarOffice
Unlike typical office suites, Evermore launches one program interface to use the word processing, spreadsheet and business graphics applications. All applications share the same icons, keystrokes, command menus and structure. And while Microsoft Office applications each have their own file formats, Evermore applications use one file format (.eio) to store data, formatting and all other attributes. Users can save documents in .doc, .xls and .ppt file formats and even .pdf, among others.
Evermore does not include several applications people might normally consider to be office applications. The suite lacks an e-mail client, as well as a personal information manager application. However, we got good results with Evermore Integrated Office when it came to basic word processing and spreadsheet usage.
In compatibility tests, Evermore easily imported Microsoft Word and Excel documents and templates in use at eWEEK. In addition, using Evermore we could easily open documents created with Microsoft Word and Excel. These documents could be saved in the same file format after using Evermore to make changes.
Evermore executives claim the greatest attribute of the office suite is the companys patented DOORS (Data Object Oriented Repository System) integration technology. DOORS enables users to reference data objects by their cell address. Any changes made to a table, for example, are automatically reflected in linked data in word processing documents.
As impressive as this capability might be, enterprises shouldnt buy Evermore based on this feature alone; only other users of Evermore will be able to see integration of documents. If a company were to send an Evermore document with charts and tables to a customer who uses Microsoft Office, those data links would not be imported. Evermores answer for this is for enterprises to suggest that customers also purchase Evermore Integrated Office, which isnt a valid answer for any organization.