The reverse cascade

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It used to be Win2k invading XP, now it’s Vista beating up on XP. I recently started using Outlook 2007 at work. HTML/CSS support aside, I’m digging some of the new features like the right side toolbar and the next/previous links to skip around in long email threads. It certainly feels like it was designed for a wide screen monitor.

The new UI is neat – it’s my first experience with the Office 2007 ribbon. What isn’t neat is that the only XP application it matches is Windows Media player. Not only are the close/minimize buttons and title bar different, but it doesn’t respect the general XP theme. When I first launched it it had a gross baby blue hue to it. At first it appeared I would be stuck with it in XP as from the main application window, the base of all Outlook operations, there is no way to change it. The preferences dialog from that window gives zero visual control. Instead, all visuals are changed from a menu within the preferences of a secondary window, such as that of a new mail message. All window settings applied there bubble up to the main application. I think I’m missing something here. Isn’t the paradigm that children inherit the qualities of their parents, not the other way around? Changing the style of a more specific piece affects the broader application. Further, not only does it bubble up to just Outlook, it controls every installed application within the Office suite, all from a new message window.

Maybe it has something to do with being optimized for Vista. Maybe I’m misunderstanding. Maybe it’s because the ribbon doesn’t show up in the main application window, only message-like windows. Maybe I should just be happy there at least is a way to get rid of the terrible blue in favor of a nice grey.


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