Saturday, July 20, 2013

iWorks for iCloud. Amazing

iWorks  for iCloud beta is the latest entrance into the online office productivity from Apple. In beta form, it is Apple's interpretation of the word processor, spreadsheet and presentation app. And it is simply amazing in terms of web technologies. I have not been so impressed with web design since the first use of invisible GIFs and sliced tables from 1996 (that is how old I am).

In their first try, Apple  pretty much out-classed both Google Docs and Microsoft's Office 365 in the online productivity space. Apple's first try at this is impressive indeed.

If you ever used iWorks (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) , you will be in for a surprise because the web versions are well built.

Straight up, this is amazing piece of web development - WebApps that don't act like web apps. They act and perform like desktop applications. Drag-n-drop, rotation, with UI that looks like a native desktop application. When you move elements around a page, you experience instantaneous page formatting and styling.

Here is an example. Pages on the Left. Google Docs on the right. Pages is like a layout application with the ability to layer. The User Interface is thoroughly thought out.

On the internet, there is nothing but high praises. Here is a salient quote from electronista claiming it to be the future of web apps.

If you think that Pages is just another web-based document editor like Google Docs (Drive) or Office 365, think again. Pages for iCloud is a fully-fledged web application that looks and functions just like a native desktop application. The layout and design of the app is slightly different to the look and feel of the iOS and Mac versions, although it is possible that both of those might evolve to look more like what Apple has planned for the web version. While the subscription-based Office 365 has a more 'professional' or 'polished' look and feel than the free Google Docs service (which is expected given that MS charges for it), Pages for iCloud makes both competing services look more like glorified text editors than full blown app.

Here are some more screen shots of iWorks in action. If you have any reservations of this working on anything but Macs or Safari, you will be in for a surprise.

Below are screenshots from my Samsung Chromebook running Chrome OS running Chrome Browser.



The breadth of image manipulation and layout control is pretty impressive. Even my favorite typefaces are available like Helvetica Neue Ultralight. No more dealing with third-rate font typefaces.


As you can see in this Keynote screenshot, you can adjust opacity of drop shadows ands rotation in a web browser. Web Technology has advanced so much since the HTML days of Mosaic. If there is any application that is better than Microsoft's equivalent, it has to be Keynote. Word and Excel pretty much rules the roost but Keynote is simply, in my opinion, better than Powerpoint. The output of Keynote simply looks more profressional. I am glad to see that there will be a browser based version.

The only thing Google Docs has over iCloud is team collaboration  For everything else, Apple knocked a home run on their first "beta" try. Now, I know what I'll be using on my Macs, Linux, Windows machines from now on. I can't wait for the final release.

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