Prototype gets ribboned

Sun experiments with the ribbon user interface with the popular office software suite.

The new prototype UI of Sun

I am possibly the only one among my co-workers who hasn't moved to Office 2007. I just can't stand the ribbon toolbar, which makes working with documents require a lot of mouse clicking. The traditional menus have been working just fine and I prefer being able to move around with keyboard shortcuts.

It's sad that together with Windows 7, Microsoft is forcing this new user interface on all of us. Applications that come with the new operating system, such as Write or Paint, are also using the ribbon toolbar instead of menus.

And it seems Sun is doing the same thing with its popular suite, which offers free alternatives to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

According to a blog from Frank Loehman, a developer of, Sun is working on creating a new user interface for the open-source office suite. And from the screenshot, the new UI seems very much like the ribbons found in Office 2007.

However, fortunately, the menu bar is still there. Hopefully this means the suite will still offer the menu UI in addition to the ribbon bar.

According to Loehman, the new UI is still in the testing phase and the content of the toolbars and the group labeling are subject to change. Sun is looking for user feedback on the new UI and my feedback is this: just get rid of the ribbon or offer people the option to pick between the two of them.

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