Registry by Committee

  • I've been assigned with the task of automating some changes in our network drive mapping for a few hundred of our users - we're basically changing the mapping of one volume from I:\ to H:. My job is to make sure that Office doesn't break, since I:\ is now going to end up read-only and they can't go saving documents there anymore, nor will their documents show up anymore, since they're now on H:. So I dig around in the registry to see if I can find where Office XP stores all that information. Here's what I found:

    Office Documents Registry Information

    Three programs, three registry key naming conventions, and two key names. There is no possible good reason for doing it like this.

  • If it were done by committee, this is something they probably would have fixed that -- after a few dozen meetings.

    In this case it was three different teams working on three different products and apparently no direction from "Office" as a whole as to how common elements like this should be handled. 



  • I basically expect this kind of thing now. How the Office tools actually work together has to be one of the Modern Marvels of Software Engineering, because everything about the packages screams "I'M ME AND I ONLY LIKE ME!" Case in point: Excel.


    Well, good luck migrating everyone. Pray that they all have the same version of Office, as there is no guarantee that different versions are even remotely similar underneath... 

  • If it were Design By Committee, you'd probably have something like

    (Default) = "<ApplicationSettings><SettingItem><SettingItemName>Default Path</SettingItemName><SettingItemData>Value: 'H:';</SettingItemData></SettingItem></ApplicationSettings>"

  • I've worked on COM addins to Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Visio, Project), and each beast is slightly different on the internals and the APIs exposed.  This is definitely a case of products created by different teams without solid continuity across product lines.

    The hacks we had to put in place to make our plug-in functionality the same on each product still brings back nightmares.  My psychoanalyst says the next 5 years of therapy may help...

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