Review: Evermore Integrated Office 2004
$149 with upgrades for 1 year or $398 with upgrades for 5
Evermore Software LLC
Wuxi City, China
Yes, there are still people trying to compete with Microsoft Office.
Evermore Integrated Office is the result of one such project - a
cross-platform Office suite (Windows/Linux) that is broadly Office
compatible, written in Java, and priced to beat Microsoft's entry in the
market. It's not as programmable or quite as polished as Microsoft
Office, but for many users that won't matter a bit.
EIOffice stores documents in "binders" - workspaces that can contain any
number of Word/Excel/PowerPoint equivalent documents. You can open your
existing Microsoft Office documents and combine them into a binder, or
of course you can create new documents. The user interface of EIOffice
is for the most part an exact copy of Microsoft Office, down to look and
feel and icons. Most users should feel right at home here.
There's no VBA programming, but there is a Java-based macro recorder and
editor that serves a similar function. So even power user activities
requiring simple programming aren't out of reach, though of course
macros won't move back if you open the document in Microsoft Office.
I played with a variety of documents in EIOffice, and they all rendered
fine. I also didn't find any difficulty in going the other direction -
even embedded charts worked fine. You can also export to other
formats including PDF and RTF.
There are various edge cases where EIOffice is a bit lacking in fit and
finish. For example, in the document editor automatically converting
single quotes to typographic quotes gave me the wrong typographic
quotes. In the spreadsheet, hitting the Sum button at the bottom of a
column of numbers didn't automatically fill in the range the way that
Excel does. But by and large users won't have trouble adapting to these
quirks instead of Microsoft's quirks.
The 2004 version adds a bunch of features to what EIOffice had in the
box last year. These include a Science Editor with 1000+ insertable
symbols, what-if analysis in spreadsheets, and increased compatability
with external applications.
Overall, I think Evermore has chosen an uphill battle here; Microsoft is
certainly the dominant player in Office suites. But with a willingness
to keep pricing low, and some actual innovation (plus cross-platform
support), Evermore might well be able to grab enough market share to
keep refining their product.