One of the big pain points for Mac users here at AK is dealing with Exchange. A lot of people are using Entourage 2004 (running in Rosetta on their Intel Macs), and while it works, it often behaves strangely or offers a "less than stellar" experience. So, one of my main missions at Macworld yesterday was to hit up the Microsoft booth, and see what I could find out about the latest version of Entourage. Here are my rough notes (captured using the "Notes" application on my iPhone):
- Exchange support:
- Can set an "out of office" message now
- Focus when building Entourage 2008 was on "the basics" - stability and performance
- Supports flagging of items, like Outlook
- No attachments in calendar - but Entourage won't auto-delete invites that have attachments
- Nothing new for going from outlook to entourage or vice versa
- Things that are in also Entourage 2004 (but might be improved in 2008):
- Can sync to address book and iCal - worked with apple to improve implementation
- Can view shared calendars via "Open other user folder" menu item
- Calendar sharing with exchange hasn't really changed - there is a "share calendar" menu option as in Entourage 2004
- The Entourage database is still stored as one ginormous file - so Microsoft recommends that you tell Time Machine to exclude it from backups, and you better be careful with it, because all of your important data is in there...
- New features:
- There is a new "My Day" window, which is actually a separate application (thus it can be made to go in all Spaces).
- Searching inside of Entourage has been completely changed - everything is now based on Spotlight. Saved searches (which can be arbitrarily complex) can be dragged to bookmarks bar ala Safari
- "View message source" command moved to the message menu
All-in-all, it was hard for me to tell if this will be a must-have upgrade or not. If Microsoft has achieved their stated goal of delivering a more stable Exchange experience - I think that alone could be well worth the price of admission. It will be hard for me to judge this, however, because I have decided to eschew Entourage in favor of Apple Mail at work (which means I have to sacrifice calendaring, and going to meetings. I'm not too broken up about it).