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Outlook 2010 Using Word 2010 – Boo Hoo!

Posted by | Posted in Geek Stuff | Posted on 25-06-2009

For the last day or so, there’s been an ongoing Twitter campaign that’s trying to undo Microsoft’s recent decision to continue using the Word rendering engine for displaying HTML emails in Outlook 2010.

When Office 2007 was released, Microsoft made the decision to use Word 2007 to render HTML-based emails in Outlook 2007. This wasn’t exactly a popular decision, because every other email client available on the intarwebs or as a software package used a web browser engine to render HTML emails (and they still do). And anyone who knows anything about HTML and Microsoft will know how well Word constructs HTML…

So, with Office 2010 on the horizon, people were hoping that Microsoft might well change it’s mind, and try doing what everyone else is doing. But yesterday (or the day before, I forget now) the news came out that Outlook 2010 was, indeed, still going to use Word 2010 for it’s HTML rendering.

The geeks on Twitter immediately caused an uproar, starting a campaign to try and convince Microsoft to change it’s mind, and try rendering HTML emails using a web browser. Even using IE8 would be a good thing – Microsoft has come along in leaps an bounds in the browser market, so I’m pretty sure nobody would complain if Outlook used IE8’s (standards-compliant) rendering engine.

So what do I think? Well, personally, I think it would be a good idea for Microsoft to fall into line and do what everyone else is doing. They could even go one further, and have a mechanism for determining if an email was generated in Word, and depending on that, Outlook could render the email using either Word or a web browser engine. That would satisfy both parties – the Word-ites could still use Word to create (and display correctly) their emails, while the standards-compliant among us could create and render emails “properly”.

But whatever Microsoft decides to do, it will likely not affect me. I don’t actually like, use, or want HTML-based emails. As far as I’m concerned, emails are for communicating relevant information in a nice, easy-to-read, text-based format. I don’t mind the occasional newsletter from Play telling me there’s a sale on, but it doesn’t have to be laden with heavy graphics or HTML. Some text and a link is fine for me. I currently have 12,665 emails in one of my Gmail accounts, taking up 909Mb, and I’d be quite thankful if they didn’t all take up vast quantities of webspace because they were filled with needless images.

So what will Microsoft do? Well, so far they’re sticking to their guns and keeping Word as the rendering engine for HTML emails in Outlook. But as I say, either way, it doesn’t bother me as I rarely use (or want) HTML emails anyway.

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