General improvements needed

With the official release to manufacturing this last Friday of Microsoft’s Word 2010 (and the entire Office 2010 suite), EndNote has some serious catching-up to do. One of the hallmarks of this release is the availability of x64 versions which take advantage of the current crop of microprocessors. Add-ins developed for 32-bit versions of Word will not work with the x64 versions and must be (at least) recompiled into 64-bit executables, DLLs or COMs to work with the new version.

Irrespective of the version of Word being used for CWYW, EndNote’s file attachment scheme, still based on the local file system, is antiquated at best and incredibly brittle at worst. It segments attachment types by folder (arcane) while producing incredibly location-sensitive references that do not typically survive local machine network file system relocation. Even the clunky Import/Export process and Compressed Library functions are prone to dysfunction library repair is often unsuccessful. Worse, in environments that require cryptographic protection against detachable media (e.g., USB thumb drives, etc.) through such utilities as PointSec, EndNote fails often and fatally, and the file attachment features are usually the first to fail.

Thomson should strongly consider moving from a file-system based attachment architecture to using SQL Server 2008 Express, creating a single instance which could be shared by all libraries, that could contain a wide variety of attachment types up through and including streaming media.  Export would be to a database file that could subsequently be imported and integrated with identically-named instances on disparate systems for bibliography sharing or use by multiple machines.  The marketer in me even believes Thomson could then offer an Enterprise Edition of EndNote that would work well with SQL Server 2008 for organizations that need or want centralized database services for attachments (or a cloud-based service from Thomson itself to which the EE version could communicate…;-).

Finally, there just needs to be a lot of hygiene on the X3 version that cleans up rendering to actually match APA 6th, reliably, and consistently.  The X3 interface is stale (at best), resembling XP more than Windows 7, and lacking the user interface sophistication of the Office 2010 ribbon bar (which fixes most of the Office 2007 ribbon bar problems). For example, a well designed state-of-the-art UI would allow users to open a library with in the EndNote application and drag them entirely out of the window onto the raw desktop - something users familiar with the also recently released Visual Studio 2010 can easily do with source code files.

I genuinely hope Thomson can deliver on these suggestions, and quickly.  We shouldn’t have to wait a year to restore CWYW functionality to the x64 version of Word because they missed the boat on over a year’s worth of pre-release testing participation with the lame excuse they were waiting for the released version: the only thing you wait for the released version for is final testing of what you’ve already been working on for a year in preparation for this major release!