What is the Office Ribbon
Microsoft promotes the Ribbon as the modern way to help users find, understand, and use commands efficiently, directly and with a minimum number of clicks, with less need to resort to trial-and-error and without having to refer to Help.
Until Office 2003, users had to search for unfamiliar commands in hierarchical menus, toolbars, task panes or memorize keyboard shortcuts. With Office 2007 or later, the user interface is consolidated in one place: The Ribbon.
One of the main drivers behind the Ribbon was discover-ability of new functions. Research conducted by Microsoft indicated that a large number of requested features for Office actually already existed in the software! Some features were buried to the point that users either couldn't find them or had, understandably, become weary of mining the menu system in search of them.
What is the Ribbon Commander
Ribbon Commander is a framework for rapid Office UI development. It aims to both simplify and extend the existing XML-based programming model for the Office UI, by exposing a complete object model for the Ribbon and Backstage (while also fully supporting XML). It consists of:
- Libraries (with projections for VBA, C#, VB.NET and COM-capable environments like VC++ and VB6).
- Tooling: An ever growing suite of productivity add-ons for VBA and Visual Studio that aim to reduce development time even further.
The framework also allows dynamic manipulation of the Ribbon, which enables you to tightly integrate the Ribbon and Backstage with your application. And this is done without the complexity of managing call-backs (although they are fully supported and extended to include events and .NET delegates).
The Ribbon Commander framework integrates seamlessly with Excel, Word and Access in Microsoft Office versions 2007 (32 bit), 2010 & 2013 (32/64 bit).
What are the advantages of Ribbon Commander
- With the Ribbon Commander framework, professional Office developers and Excel users alike can enhance Office/ Excel applications with a custom, interactive and highly usable Ribbon interface.
- Dynamic and intuitive Ribbon tabs are discoverable and require less complicated documentation.
- Ribbon menus built by VBA without any XML complexities will be easier to maintain.
- Ribbon menus can be tailor-made using custom images stored inside OpenXML files.
Why does software usability matter
The best reason to make usability an important part of any RAD development process is to reduce training and technical support costs. A highly usable Excel application is much easier for users to learn than one for which usability was not a high priority.
Users learn features more quickly and retain their knowledge longer, which correlates with decreased training costs and time.