Software: Document Drama

The computer industry loves its buzzwords, and the latest is "document-centered software" or, if you must, "document-centricity." Word-Perfect is using the term to promote its forthcoming PerfectOffice software suite. You'll hear a lot more about centricity when Microsoft launches its new version of Windows.

The theory is appealing. To write a report, you may need a spreadsheet for charts, a word processor for the text, and maybe a database manager to fetch corporate information. But your focus should be on the goal--the report--not on the tools used to build it. For example, you should be able to use your spreadsheet tools to change a chart without ever leaving your word-processing program. This requires much tighter integration than has been achieved so far. Let's hope users get a software breakthrough, not marketing hype.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.