Microsoft recently provided me with yet another reason to dump Office, so I finally got off of my duff and made the switch to OpenOffice 2.0 Beta 2 over the weekend (downloaded via BitTorrent of course).
I’ve been trying it out on and off since well before Sun started contributing resources to it, and it’s really came a long way over the years. For instance, I used it extensively last summer for a month when I did a trial to see if I was ready to switch to Linux on the desktop yet (the answer was no), and even in that time I’m still very impressed with its progress.
Thus far I’ve used it to write some Use Case documents for my Object Oriented Analysis and Design class, as well as a spreadsheet for a home project that I’m working on, and it works great! It almost seemed like it was intelligent enough to figure out the type of document as I was writing it because it would suggest words such as “Precondition” when I typed “Pre” for instance– impressive!
One shortcoming of OpenOffice is that it doesn’t seem to have a suitable Visio clone. Generally I avoid using Visio if I can and use Enterprise Architect instead as you can actually write UML 2.0 compliant documents natively and do code and database engineering with it to many languages and platforms. In fact, you can even do code engineering for ColdFusion (thanks to Mike Rankin) in EA. However, there are a few things I still use Visio for on occasion for such as Network Diagrams and prototyping GUI’s.