Why is it so hard to make a good iOS Office app?

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by Taustin Powers, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. Taustin Powers macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2005
    Microsoft would be the obvious company to release one, and rumor has it the app has been finished some time, but they are currently opting to push their Surface tablets as the only viable Office tablet option instead.

    Apple have their iWork suite which isn't half bad, but the constant converting between the formats can't be the optimal solution. We need something that can natively work with the MS Office file formats.

    Then we have a few others who gave it a shot (Quick Office, Docs 2 Go, etc.), but let's be honest, they're rather useless for anything that goes beyond VERY casual work.

    Looking at the Mac and PC world, we have Open Office and various spin-offs (Neo, Libre...), that provide very good and usable alternatives to MS Office.

    My question is, where is the "Open Office" for iOS? What is the big challenge that prevents this from happening? Hardware constraints? Coding structure of the platform? I have seen some truly impressive apps pulled off on the iPad, so I have a hard time believing this is the case.

    Anyone here have some knowledge on the matter and can provide some insight?
  2. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    I'd say time and money. It isn't cheap making iOS apps and takes a lot of effort. Anyhow, MSFT needs some serious rethinking. They keep trying to push their own tablets and fail to realize that they are mostly failing. It's their business - let them struggle. For me, iWork does wonders.
  3. redman042 macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    After working with both Documents 2 Go and Quick Office, I recently switched to Pages and Numbers after the big updates from Apple.

    Pages and Numbers are nicely optimized for the iPad, do a mostly great job of translating from Office formats, and are quite functional. The UI is very good for the iPad, far better than third party office solutions.

    They are not full replacements for Office yet, but Apple has basically reset the code on these apps and is expected to keep adding features over time.

    I give it about a year and MS Office will become mostly irrelevant.

    Though I have to say, doing spreadsheets on the iPad may never be great. Every solution I've tried is slow to navigate. But Pages is pretty slick now.
  4. DeathTheKid macrumors member


    Aug 12, 2013
    Kingsoft Office Might Be A Good Companion

    I have Kingsoft Office on my iPhone and my Android tablet, and once I get my iPad back, I am going to put it on my iPad.

    I can tell you when I am on the go and I need to view or edit any Office Document or Spreadsheet, this is my go to app. It's Spreadsheet app is the damn closest thing to full fat Excel that you are going to see (desktop or mobile). I can throw anything in Excel at this sucker and it will render it perfectly. In addition, it has a pretty massive formula library, better than any of the other alternatives I have seen.

    The people that created it, WPS were trying to clone MS Office. So far, they have done a damn good job. It is a really nice companion to Pages and Keynote.
  5. Taustin Powers thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2005
    I just downloaded it, and it can't seem to create or edit spreadsheets, just read them.

    Am I missing something?
  6. Lloydbm41 macrumors 601


    Oct 17, 2013
    Central California
    I used this a while ago, primarily for Word. But it still lacks a lot of functionality found on Office. I think Pages has come a long way on the iPad and now prefer what Apple has to offer us on the iPad and iPhone.
  7. tanweerhasan macrumors newbie


    Jan 3, 2014
    Jersey City
    I would say that it is not hard to make a good iOS office app, it's depend upon developer as well as on time and money. As far as "Open Office" for iOS can be obtained from here http://en.softonic.com/s/open-office-ios-10.8:iphone

    Now question is what is big challenge? I would say Coding structure of the platform is more challengeable than Hardware constraints.
  8. redman042 macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    It actually is very hard to make an office app that is fully compatible with with MS Office files. Wish I could find the article I read a while back that dug deep into the Microsoft Office file specification. What the author found is that Microsoft has gone out of their way to make it extremely difficult for a third party to translate an Office file. Even the newer XML specification that Microsoft uses, which is supposed to be based on open standards, uses a lot of direct references to specific code in the Office software, rather than just a system of tags describing formatting, etc. So it's extremely proprietary, for the obvious reason that MS Office is one of Microsoft's last huge revenue generators. They made it hard on purpose.

    Seems that competitors are getting closer and closer to fully cracking the format, however.
  9. ScottNWDW macrumors 65816


    Jul 10, 2008
    Orlando, Florida
    Since Apple reworked their iWork Suite I have been using Numbers and Pages a lot more both in iOS and in the Mac. I rarely use MS Office anymore. Pages and Numbers have been able to handle everything I have been able to throw at them so far, so as far as I am concerned I can finally say Goodbye to Microsoft once and for all.

    Would have loved to have MS Office on the iPad years ago, but until Microsoft wakes up and smells the coffee (which I find hard to believe since Starbucks is headquartered in the same area) I doubt that will happen since they are still going gaga on their failing Surface.

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