Talk:Ribbon (computing)

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"Microsoft claims"[edit]

"Microsoft claims that his will improve...". Is the word "claim" just a little bit weasely to anyone else?-- (talk) 21:02, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

I think "claim" is pretty standard phrasing in this context. It would have been weasely if you replaced "claims" with "alleges".-- (talk) 19:41, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it is text-book weasel. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:41, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
As there haven't been any long term studies "claim" is just the right term to express there is a hypothesis that ribbons work for the users, but that this hasn't been verified yet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:53, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Damn I hate the ribbon.. and yes, "claim" would be the right word..-- XCheese360 1336.999992 11:11, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Keyboard accessibility[edit]

The ribbon in Office does not lack keyboard accessibility. Just press alt, and there you go... ( 19:46, 21 December 2006 (UTC))

08:22 Bnis 8h mit Ribbons (runtergedaldener Source) beschäftigt, gehe nun raus mit Hund, Getränke kaufen und leg mich um 10 Uhr hin.

Non-disclosure agreement[edit]

What is that BS about signing NDA to get Ribbon design guidelines? They are available for download right here: 21:43, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Then what is this? "Microsoft Evaluation License: 2007 Microsoft Office System User Interface". In short, you need to agree to these terms to get the evaluation copy. Quoting the web page:
CONFIDENTIALITY. The Design Guidelines, and the terms of this Agreement, are Microsoft’s confidential information. You cannot disclose them to anyone else without Microsoft’s prior written approval. However, you may disclose them to your contractors who have a need to know as long as they also agree to abide by the terms of this agreement.
Sounds like a non-disclosure agreement to me. I'll cite this link in the article, thanks. -- intgr 00:25, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Prior art needs citation if true, doubtful though[edit]

The claim that the ribbon may not be patentable because of prior art needs a credible citation. The Slashdot article on the licensing guidelines for the ribbon interface have a few posts from Slashdot visitors claiming its similar to something incorporated in an old version of 1-2-3. But if you read what they say is similar, its obvious that they aren't the same thing and wouldn't be viewed as the same thing legally (pressing a key leads to a horizontal menu in 1-2-3, versus a combination of a menu and a toolbar system in Office, come on). One person says its similar to whats implemented in Adobe products, but all Adobe products have is a toolbar that changes per task, something Microsoft is not attempting to patent. To make this claim in the article you have to cite an expert in patent law. You can't cite angry posters on Slashdot, who are mainly objecting because they hate the idea of patenting software features and interfaces in general, and have no concept as to what is patentable.

Yes its legitimate to point out some open source advocates are attacking Microsoft about this. But the way its presented in the article makes it sound like they have a point. Also, its not clear whether any credible open source advocates are pursuing this argument, or its just a bunch of Slashdot posters. People on forums and Slashdot often just think up any arguments they can to make any point they can, whether or not the arguments are credible. Wikipedia really can't appease every Slashdot poster's pet argument even if its wrong.

Please either cite a patent expert on the issue, and if you're just going to comment on open source advocates, a credible leader in open source advocacy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Brianshapiro (talkcontribs)

True. The obvious problem here is that nobody has seen the patent yet. I'm not even sure when or if Microsoft is going to submit an application (this claim is still tagged as "citation needed" in the article). As prior art depends on how broad the patent is going to be, I wouldn't except to see any qualified "reviews" of it any time soon.
I wouldn't like to throw out the entire statement. The fact is, that it's being criticized, and is controversial. The practice of licensing a patent before even submitting an application is unusual at best, and that's what is actually being criticized. I do agree that Slashdot comments are not a reliable source, but it does document the general reactions from the community. As far as WP:POV is concerned, I don't see a problem.
What do you think? -- intgr 19:07, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

The SIMION software [1], when inside "View mode" (i.e. viewing and manipulating a "workbench" object), has had a ribbon-like interface for at least as far back as 1996 (version 6.0 / DOS). Version 7.0 (year 2000), which has nearly an identical user interface to version 6.0 [2], has screenshots on [3] and in the figures of the 2000 paper [4] describing the history of SIMION. In fact, contrary to the text "most of these implementations are not intended to entirely supplant an application's main menu bar and toolbars" in the Wikipedia article, this "tabbed toolbar" does supplant the main navigation in View mode. As seen, SIMION had no Windows-style "menu bar" prior to version 8.0 (see version 8.0 screenshots in [5]). When MS introduced their "ribbon" interface as the "next best thing", I noticed the similarity and thought SIMION may have been ahead of its time, or at least its GUI concept was not old fashioned but still trendy. Qevxb (talk) 22:19, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Further, the article seems to reduce The Ribbon UI to merely a tab. Then, once the reduction takes place, half the article is chuck full of opinion, zealotry and uncited (or poorly cited) claims —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:43, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I wrote a "tabbed toolbar", complete with scroll animations, in VisualBasic for DOS sometime in 1993. It was used in two custom applications: a simplistic CAD viewer with powerful import/export and a logistics management package. My implementation, compared to Microsoft's, lacked icons (it was capable of ANSI character terminal control though, :-p ). Prior art is plentiful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:28, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Microsoft is excellent at plagiarising other people's ideas ;-P
KSM-2501ZX, IP address:= (talk) 17:58, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

It seems familiar...[edit]

It may just be me, especially since I haven't had a chance to play with 2007's version, but this interface seems rather familiar to what MicroStation uses. Am I kind of right or am I way off? Lady BlahDeBlah 22:09, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Long, long time ago?[edit]

<flame> I can not say but that this new cool Microsoft feature reminds me of macinosh one-menu for all applications design. It is also context driven (window). And this office logo is similar to something i saw once on macintosh, it was not made in Microsoft labs neither. And maybe they call it ribb...;) nah Microsoft has been original at least there(?). </flame> —Preceding unsigned comment added by Calwaxfish (talkcontribs)

Please keep in mind that Wikipedia talk pages are for discussing the article, not for expressing your opinions about the subject. If you can't find any reliable sources to incorporate this into the article, it's irrelevant. Happy editing! -- intgr #%@! 11:49, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
tab + "combobox" = ribbon . Tab as a elements grouped together, as seen on browser since opera(?). Combobox in a way its element is enlarged when possible. Well i think that rather than combobox better would be tab+menu = ribbon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kauldron (talkcontribs) 12:58, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Controversy section[edit]

I have added the neutrality tag to the Controversy section in the article. Microsoft may be spreading FUD with the article, but the statement that they may not license the ribbon to free software is itself a load of FUD. 17:19, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Removed the statement. I agree that it's purely speculation at this point. I don't think we're going to find out soon, given that there is no reason to agree to Microsoft's license in the first place (free software applications would have to re-implement the functionality anyway). PS: you're welcome to do such edits yourself. -- intgr #%@! 20:38, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
I prefer to leave such possibly controversial edits to users that have been working on the article for a longer period of time, especially since IP edits are very often considered vandalism (even if it wasn't) and removed. The current paragraph is much better, thanks. 09:29, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

As I have said on the talk page of Office 2007, the official name is the Microsoft Office Fluent Interface. While commonly and unofficially referred to as the ribbon, the article title should change to reflect the proper name, even if it is to drop the "Microsoft Office" part - although I doubt we'd see other software with a similar UI unless it was licensed out by Microsoft. Danj205 05:17, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

You are wrong. Microsoft itself says: "The menus and toolbars in some programs have been replaced with the Ribbon, which is part of the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface" ( Jalwikip (talk) 07:33, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

An Expert is Needed[edit]

Fully aware I might be writing these lines in vain, I have the impression that ribbons, or how the concept is described in the article, have been around for years, notably in early 90ies file managers and a class of programs called trackers . Effectively, I don't think it's a Microsoft Office2007 innovation . Would be great to have expert opinion on this .

Always in good faith, 04:33, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

We don't need an "expert" we just need a source comparing the functionality of this widget with something older. -- intgr [talk] 12:45, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

be in a GUI. open some menu. for each group of commands: (imagine you) change linear positionning of commands into circular (see pie_menu,fitts_law, const. distance,search_tree, balanced_tree - esp. avl_tree;). rotate it 90 degrees (it does not matter actually). voíla.
this is but a mere change in topology, nothing else. breaking of second level of hierarchy (counting from 1) you get basic commands + groups. it has been done by already mentioned toolboxes (usually grouped by tabs;). it is basically act of hoisting. i think it is just a "by removing one bit from heap, do you still have a heap? when you don't have heap?" - some greek philosopher was groking it.
some funny legal implications (IANAL) - but contains good informations (links) + documents some issues of ribbon !
i hope it will make people to experiment and try to do _user_friendly_ applications. by that i do not mean graphics lumber but simple and sane yet powerful use.
innovation? didn't you ment invention? it clearly is innovation (kind of :) and it is not invention.
Cc..aa..ll (talk) 22:46, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Cite for the "we're going to patent this" claim[edit]

Here is the link to a comment by an MS employee where it's stated they have pending patent(s) on the Ribbon concept, among other office UI things:

I was going to add the cite to the article myself but the tagging is way too complicated for me to figure out, so could someone else please do it? Thanks -- (talk) 13:36, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Done —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:54, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Office2007ribbon.png[edit]

The image Image:Office2007ribbon.png is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

The following images also have this problem:

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --09:33, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Huh! Where's the picture now, stupid robot? Æåm Fætsøn (talk) 22:33, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Conflict of Interest[edit]

This edit was discussed at WP:COI/N and a quick google search revealed that User:PHenry is (or at least was) likely a Microsoft employee. As his edits spanning a number of years have been minor I'm not tagging the article, rather commenting here and on the user's talk page. -- samj inout 14:16, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Give me a break. I haven't worked for Microsoft for seven years. I don't know anyone who works on Office, and I don't know anyone involved in the implementation of this feature. My "conflict of interest" here is no greater than that of any of the legions of FOSS devotees who write articles about programs and features they use and know and like, which is exactly what they should be doing. If you have a problem with the accuracy of what I wrote, then let's hear it. Otherwise this all just looks like an attempt to mau-mau people who make accurate but unwelcome edits. —phh (t/c) 16:27, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
An editor complained about a specific edit that has obvious (if mostly benign) WP:V (WP:SPS) and WP:NPOV issues. Given you're a former Microsoft employee then their complaint about WP:COI may well be justified, but it's irrelevant given there were other policy violations. If there are indeed FOSS developers editing the article (and I mean developers, not devotees because an interest is not a conflict of interest) then they would be subject to exactly the same rules as you are. -- samj inout 16:32, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
What other policy violations, exactly? Here's the edit:
Some critics contend that the ribbon concept has historically appeared extensively as "tabbed toolbars" in applications such as Macromedia HomeSite, Dreamweaver and Borland Delphi.[6] However, most of these implementations are not intended to entirely supplant an application's main menu bar and toolbars, as the Ribbon does,[9] and do not include a number of features that distinguish the Ribbon UI, such as dynamic scaling[10] and extensibility.
The Ribbon user interface widget was developed, named, and defined by Microsoft. It is not the same thing as a tabbed toolbar. A defining characteristic of a Ribbon is that it replaces the main menu bar in an application. If a thing does not replace the main menu bar, then by definition it is not a Ribbon. To claim otherwise is like saying that a Dock is a kind of taskbar: they are similar, and pointing out that similarity is thoroughly legitimate, but they are not synonymous and it is inaccurate to claim that they are.
I did also make another change in that edit: I replaced a reference to Jarosław Staniek, a non-notable KDE developer who is referenced nowhere else on Wikipedia, with a more general statement that makes the tabbed-toolbar charge sound more like a legitimate argument and less like what may well be the isolated ravings of a single crank. I promise I will never make that mistake again, and if someone wants to change it back I certainly won't argue. —phh (t/c) 17:02, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
The only reason we're discussing this is because another editor was sufficiently upset as to complain about it at WP:COIN. Your edit is unverifiable original research relying on a self-published source, with questionable WP:NPOV likely related to a WP:COI relating to your [ex-]employer (yes, even ex-employees have conflicts sometimes). -- samj inout 17:19, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
You use these terms, but you do not appear to understand them. You are talking about blog entries written by the group program manager of the Microsoft Office User Experience Team, which created and developed the Ribbon interface, explaining how and why the decisions that went into the creation process were made. People and companies are allowed to be sources on themselves; maybe you didn't get that far.
You clearly don't even remotely understand what original research is. If I had gone to the Office design team and interviewed them about the Ribbon and wrote about what I had learned, that would be original research. Citing a published statement is not original research (although a case could be made that it is a primary source, which is allowed if used in the way I used it.)
You still haven't explained my supposed conflict of interest here, and I'm starting to suspect that you never will.
(For a fun mental exercise, try applying your verifiability, original research, self-published source, and NPOV arguments to Jarosław Staniek's blog post, which remains a cited source in this article to this day. I'm sure you'll want to waste no further time in scurrying off to lecture the person who originally added it to the article, yes? Off you go then, there's a good fellow.) —phh (t/c) 19:23, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Ok I'll spell it out for you. Here's your first claim, original research emphasised. The associated reference doesn't even mention Macromedia HomeSite, Dreamweaver and Borland Delphi, so how is this statement verifiable?

However, most of these implementations are not intended to entirely supplant an application's main menu bar and toolbars, as the Ribbon does,[1]

I'm responding to a specific complaint that was made about your editing - you're welcome to use the very same processes to complain about other editors if you wish, but being uncivil with people called in to assist is unnecessary. -- samj inout 22:45, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
At this point it's clear that you have no real interest in discussing this rationally, and are just trying to antagonize me for your own inscrutable purposes.
Do you know what Homesite, Dreamweaver, and Delphi all have? Main menu bars. Ergo, the tabbed toolbars (not Ribbons) in those applications did not supplant them. QED! If you really want me to supply references for the fact that HomeSite, Dreamweaver, and Delphi have main menu bars, I'll do it, but I'm holding out hope that you'll give up your sad wikilawyering instead. That's how you can demonstrate that you have an interest in interacting civilly. You've certainly displayed no such interest up till now. —phh (t/c) 05:27, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
The much older SIMION 8 application, posted by another contributor uses a tabbed toolbar as it's primary functionality with only 'File' and 'Help' left in the main menu. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:42, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

The great thing about consensus is that it's not just the two of us who get to participate. Given I couldn't really care less about the subject (beyond the fact that you have made sufficiently contentious edits while having a provable potential conflict of interest as to have been reported at WP:COIN) I intend to leave it to the other editors to determine whether or not your statement is justified by the reference. Attacking volunteers who are trying to maintain sanity is not cool by the way. -- samj inout 07:25, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

phh's edites seem totally reasonable. I believe his edits are being questioned because (unlike the majority of commentors here) dares not enforce the ANTI-EVERYTHING-MS POV that pervades wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:48, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

However, most of these implementations are not intended to entirely supplant an application's main menu bar and toolbars, as the Ribbon does,[2]

Thank God they put the fn menu bar back in Office 2008. The ribbon interface IS A LIVING HELL. The application is UNUSABLE; it doesn't have any menubar!!! I have to use this garbage at another location, and I hate it with a passion. How the hell is it possible that Microsoft's entire Windows Office Suite no longer conforms to the Windows user interface?!?!?!?!? WTF These days you need a Macintosh just to be able to use a version of Microsoft Word that operates in a common sense manner... and you're stuck with the newest ones because of those irritating, bloated .docx files.

New Developments[edit]

A lot has changed with Windows 7. Many of the impassioned arguments above, and statements in the article itself, are looking dated in light of recent changes. For example, Microsoft does now have some ribbon UI guidlines freely available on MSDN. I'm just starting to read up on the subject (I'm a sysadmin, not a developer), so I may not be the best person to start committing edits (but I may still try :). Still, someone should do it, because the advent of the "scenic ribbon" API will warrant some major structural changes in the article. Pelagic (talk) 14:34, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Article Structure[edit]

The Patent Protection section, as it stands, is a mish-mash of unrelated information. I think to salvage this, it will be necesary to introduce some new section headings, which will need to be filled out with more content. Pelagic (talk) 14:34, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Wasn't this interface partly engineered from another company?[edit]

I forgot what company it was, but there was a company I recall that implemented at most some part of the original office 2007 interface. Its name was somewhere along the lines a 3 letter abbreviation with a B in it. Can someone identify this? ChazZeromus (talk) 21:34, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Gunderloy was an independent contractor, not a Microsoft employee[edit]

Quote from the blog entry source - "Gunderloy, an Evansville, Ind.-based freelance developer for the past quarter century, goes way back with Microsoft. I was never a full-time employee, but have several times been a contractor with a badge and [Redmond] campus access, he says." Removing misleading references to this contractor. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:46, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Contractors do not "leave the company," their contracts expire and they may or may not have their contracts renewed after a 100-day hiatus. Also, why are the words of a disgruntled Microsoft contractor given this much weight? This section sounds very POV. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:34, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Article is confusing, and fails to convey the essence of a Ribbon[edit]

Reading the article didn't tell me what a "ribbon" is: it is described in terms of things like "sets of tabs" (you have to look elsewhere to find out what they are). A bit like the description of a motorcycle in chapter 6 of "Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maitenance", it's only understandable if you already know what it does.

I would appreciate somebody describing how you operate this thing, both with mouse and keyboard, how much of it you can see at a time (the screenshot makes it look very restricted), and how the thing reacts. Can you expand it up to full screen size? Can you make it disappear until you need it again? What is the essential feature of a ribbon that makes it new and different?

Would it be possible to describe briefly here what is meant by a "tab"? The article for "tab" is also not easy to grasp. It describes a tab in terms of "widgets". The article for "widget" is a bit vague. It's all very confusing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by AMackenzie (talkcontribs) 18:44, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Good suggestion. The term "Ribbon" was pushed by Microsoft, and I do not think it was really used before that, but the concept is older, and pretty simple. I guess it is realy just closely spaced buttons that are placed on tabs. A tab is a like a physical tab, coming from the Apple-promoted desktop metaphor, and compares to manila envelopes in a filing cabinet. Scientus (talk) 08:27, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
AutoCAD has had a optional Ribbon (I don't think they called it that in the beginning) since vers. 2004 (released in March 2003). It has become the standard interface (you can change back to tool-bar and menus if you want) since version 2008 (released in March 2007).
AutoDesk has implemented "Ribbons" in most of their other software since 2005 as well.
So, what do I want to say? The usage of "Ribbons" stretches further back then 2007 and Microsoft are not the only developers using it, maybe we should rewrite this article to be broader in scope, instead of just concentrating on MS Office.::-Lumber Jack- (talk) 21:52, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, thats the reason for Jarosław Staniek's blog post. It would be great to have more on other examples, and less advertising fluff on Microsoft's unoriginal implementation.Scientus (talk) 22:32, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Patent controversy section[edit]

This section undoubtedly belongs in the article, but I agree with the IP editor that it is skewed a little to far to one side. Surely someone has given Microsoft's opinion in response, in reliable sources? A would say pruning, and addition of the other side's position, is better than removing an entire section. --Floquenbeam (talk) 20:30, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Why do you think that some pure opinion of some arbitrary ex contracter of MS should be in the article ? Is wikpedia some platform for ex-employees to critisise their former employers or a encyclopedia providing neutral information? If opinions on the Ribbon interface were to be added added they should be from known expert GUI designers or from experiences by massive amounts of users. This article does not even mention how revolutionairy the Ribbon interface is in the context of the most used software interface completly changing and how this impacts computer users all over the world but the article does have an overly large section on supposed patent controversies. Actually not even on any actual controversy but on possible future controversies as the POV hangs on pure asumptions on why MS has patented the ribbon and also are critisisms by individuals that are predispositioned and/or have towards MS in general anyways. In fact we all know ICT companies have for years patented every piece of software they produce. That has been standard common practise since MS gets sued every other week by some patent troll and is not particularly not relevant or specifically controversial for the ribbon interface. Microsoft will get patents on Windows software, Office, SQL server, .NET, and on no doubt any other piece of software they produce. As will Apple, as will IBM. (talk) 21:44, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I've removed one of the two sources (the "arbitrary ex contractor"), as his comments all came from what I interpret to be non-reliable sources. You have to understand that I know jack about this stuff, so I could be 100% wrong. This was mostly to force you two to the talk page, rather than both get blocked for edit warring. If consensus on this page develops, I'm more than happy to see this section expanded 10-fold, or deleted completely, or somewhere in between ("in between" is my guess at what's appropriate). You've now clearly laid out your rationale for removing the section, something you hadn't done before. I would anticipate User:Intgr will be along in a while to chime in. People who actually know what they're talking about (i.e. not me) can work it out, or seek dispute resolution. --Floquenbeam (talk) 22:07, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
The remaining part in the section now states:
Proponents of free software, such as KDE developer Jarosław Staniek,[13] have expressed beliefs that the patent cannot be acquired due to the ambiguity of prior art
The reference given to mr Stanieks blog does NOT mention the word "patent", and it also does NOT mention the words "prior art" nor does it suggest anything on those issues for other proponents of free software. How can that part of the article be correct. (talk) 08:54, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
@ Nobody is saying that the section has to remain how it is now. This section is not supposed to convey "the opinion of Mike Gunderloy", but the fact that Microsoft is strongly suggesting that they have patents covering this UI element, or that they are in the process of acquiring such patents.
And this is where it gets interesting: By their story, any developer wishing to use this element has to get a license, which involves signing a NDA, so the developer is not allowed to come back and talk about what the license entails. However, nobody has actually shown any proof of a granted patent, and many people doubt that it's patentable at all -- making Microsoft's licensing campaign moot.
The section can certainly be improved, but surely this is relevant to the article. For me personally, the controversy is more significant than the ribbon itself. I haven't even seen Office 2007, but the controversy is how I actually learned what the ribbon is. -- intgr [talk] 22:32, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
You now make very clear that you are actually interested in the POV (controversy) element of the section you are trying to rescue where before you claimed to revert on procedural basis. I already suspected that you actually supported the POV views that were in that section. As nobody has shown in the article proof of any patent existing nor of any intention by MS of using such a patent the whole section is moot. The basic situation that MS since the introduction of patent trolls now files patents on any piece of software they make (which might not be granted) is not worth a section here. (talk) 10:17, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Well I finally found the time to research this issue. I renamed the section from "patent controversy" to "ribbon user interface licensing" and revamped the whole thing, throwing out any claims not supported by reliable sources. Indeed, there are no reliable references (that I found) which directly address the issues of patentability/prior art, so I removed all that. Can you agree with the two sections as they stand now?

"You now make very clear that you are actually interested in the POV (controversy) element of the section you are trying to rescue where before you claimed to revert on procedural basis." — Well obviously I wouldn't revert if I didn't care about the removed content. I reverted because researching these issues takes time. You will note that I never claimed that the old section was correct, substantiated or neutrally covered. -- intgr [talk] 18:38, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Better, but I am intruigued why you added the extremly anti-MS biased Groklaw blog bullshit which is totally unreliable in any interpretation of patent related issues. I hope you do know that for example W3C royalty free licensing is also non-sublicenseable [6]. If Pamela Jones were correct about sublicenses being required for free software then free software would not be able to use W3C HTML or XML standard because the licensing of W3C participants is non-sublicenseable. (talk) 22:19, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm having a hard time finding an actual complaint in your rant. The article as it stands factually reports and attributes what PJ stated. There are numerous precedents for considering Groklaw a reliable source for law-related issues. So leave phrases like "extremly (sic) anti-MS biased [...] bullshit [...] totally unreliable" to your blog comment threads. I believe PJ is more competent on the issues of open source licensing than you are.
You should really leave the law to the lawyers. But OK, I'll bite. When was the last time you signed a licensing contract with some company to implement a W3C standard? In the case of the MS license, there is a contract between the developer and the proprietor. And not only is it a patent license (if they have any patents to begin with) -- it's also a non-disclosure agreement and a copyright/trademark license. So these instances are not really comparable. -- intgr [talk] 08:43, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
My complaint is that with the biased pamela interpretation on MS licenses you suggest that a Microsoft license is non compatible with free software licenses due to a clause that is commenly used for Open Standards (required clause even in W3C licenses). So if the pamela interpretation were correct then open software licenses would by definition be incompatible with open standards. (talk) 10:15, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
First, this is not what I suggest. This is what PJ states, I am making no correctness claims about it. Verifiability, not truth.
Second, as I explained above, the two situations aren't even comparable. Patents covering W3C standards are licensed world-wide, to everyone, and there is no contract with the developer. The MS ribbon license is much more than that. If you want to claim that these two licenses are comparable then this is your synthesis -- unless you can find a reliable source for the claim. -- intgr [talk] 10:38, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually the exact part you added to this article is very comparable. You placed in the article a clear to read claim that the license is not compatible with open software [b]because[/b] it is not sublicenseable. That however is NOT true as virtually all open source uses openstandards which hasve non-licenseable licensing as common practice. It is a pure and evident lie by someone who is extremly biased and wants to dicredit MS in virtually every blogpost she makes (talk) 07:30, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
So when was the last time you signed a contract and a non-disclosure agreement with someone to implement an open standard? That standard wouldn't really be an "open standard" then, would it?
The point I'm trying to make is that one is a plain world-wide patent license by a single entity (the patent holder). The other is a contract between two entities — MS and the developer. This contract includes a non-disclosure agreement, a patent license, a copyright license (for using MS's libraries) and a trademark license. They are radically different things, but you are only concentrating on the fact that these two licenses use the same term, "non-sublicensable". Even if you have the legal competence to judge that the two are similar, this would be original research or synthesis.
Also you have no evidence to suggest that most open standards are actually covered by patents. -- intgr [talk] 08:40, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Very interesting you find the contract and non-diclosure agredements interesting but those are not part of the article part disputed. I just object to the non-sublicensable related claim that you did add to the article and which are big fat lies by Pamela Jones who should be well aware that non-sublicenseable licenses are common the open standards world.
And just to remind you it is normal for any licensing agreement ot have a non disclosreagrement in it a you do not want things like the licesing price and other deal specifics to be out in the open. I suggest you change the article to remove the non-sublicensable bullshitt claims by the well known anti-MS blog.
And yes I do now of tons of patents that apply to open standards but that has no relation to this article. (talk) 21:48, 16 December 2009 (UTC) is actually User:hAl[edit]

User:hAl was indefinitely blocked in November for disruptive editing, continued edit warring, and editing against consensus. He has recently made extensive edits here under the IP address, which is now also blocked. Editors here may wish to review the net effect of edits made here in the light of this. --Nigelj (talk) 21:01, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Reads like a Press Release[edit]

I'm itching to add the {{advert}} template to this. It's not as bad as some articles I've seen, but it still reads like it was authored by Microsoft itself, with disadvantages and disagreeing viewpoints tacked onto the unaltered document. The pretentious capitalization of "The Ribbon" throughout the article probably contributes to this impression, so I'll change that right now.

Related complaints follow:

  • The first sentence describes the general "Tabbed Toolbars" interface, which suggests that that is the subject of the entire article. Instead, the entire article is about Microsoft's implementation of tabbed toolbars.
  • The section "Background on the Ribbon interface" is totally incoherent. What was the author of that section trying to say? There's a parenthetical remark that doesn't seem to have anything to do with the sentence that contains it, there's nothing about the version in which the useless Office Assistant was introduced or what it has to do with the ribbon interface, and it's impossible for me to figure out what the referrent of "this" is in the final sentence.
  • The article acknowledges that Microsoft only invented the name, but it mostly reads like Microsoft is claiming that they invented the very concept.

--Proginoskes (talk) 20:55, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Replacing the ribbon?[edit]

As much as I would love this section to be true:

Due to campaigns by numerous Office users Microsoft will be reverting back to the Office 2003 menu system to avoid plummeting sales.

The cited link doesn't seem to back up the claim. All I get from it is that the ribbon will be improved to make it easier to use. I wouldn't want to remove that text if there is a citation elsewhere though. --carelesshx talk 00:42, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

I really doubt it. If anything, Microsoft could make the old UI optional, but I don't think they would back out entirely. I have removed this claim, because it was added by the same IP user who also added the statement "It is terrible". Just doesn't sound like a good-faith edit. -- intgr [talk] 03:02, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I tried 2007 and gave up trying to guess where the commands I needed were now stored "intuitively." Not everyone needs the parts that they think should be "up front." I.e., I don't do any printing at all on my system. They expect us to forget 20 years of learning the Windows menus so that we can look at icons? let 'em plummet! WHPratt (talk) 14:32, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

ribbon or Ribbon?[edit]

Capitalization of the term 'ribbon' is used inconsistently - would have edited, but not sure which form is to be used best... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:02, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Reaction to Interface section is essentially a gripe list[edit]

While the first and last paragraphs of the "Reaction to Interface" section have multiple citations backing up their statements, the other 60% of the section is entirely unsourced and sounds very much like someone's personal gripes against the new interface. It should be cleaned up and sourced. Even better, are there any usability studies or analyses out there about the Ribbon? Abeger (talk) 16:14, 30 March 2010 (UTC)


I don't know if anyone is interested in adding more examples, but I know 3D-drafting software SolidWorks has a RibbonUI-like interface as of the 2009 version. Josejuan05 (talk) 17:48, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

AppleWorks (1984-2007), which used to be ClarisWorks, had a ribbony toolbar in the 1990s when I used it. An excellent program. When does a ribbon become a toolbar? Most Adobe PDF files have inbuilt tool ribbons. (talk) 07:30, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Title change[edit]

Ribbon is not a general computing idea. It's only a user interface element invented by Microsoft. Thus, I feel the current title is not accurate.Jasper Deng (talk) 04:08, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

The disambiguation word in parentheses is to show context, not to imply that it's a general computing concept. The "(computing)" part indicates that this usage of Ribbon is some way used in computers, which it is. It usually doesn't pay off to be too specific as it wouldn't show proper context. If there were some other uses of the word in computing, then it would need a more specific disambiguation. See WP:PRECISION for the relevant guideline. Diego (talk) 08:00, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
    • This as well as the suggested prior art, Microsoft did not 'invent' the ribbon UI as such, only modernised a previously created concept. NotinREALITY 22:47, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Biased intro[edit]

I've reverted again User:John Nevard's paragraph in the lede. While it's true that there may be some relevant facts in some of the sources you provide, the biased style is unacceptable from a wp:Neutral Point of View perspective. The Ribbon is not a "problem" that has "solutions", it's a user interface element that you might like or not; nor a classic mode would be a guarantee that people would "continue working productively". If you want those facts in the article you should expose them clearly without stereotypes and keep your opinions out of them. Diego (talk) 07:00, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

This edit was not reverted because its meaning is unrelated to the sources provided, but because the assertions in it are a matter of opinion and speculation. According to policy, Wikipedia only includes opinions when attributed to the people that expressed them, not stated as fact. Also, the links to the "solutions" are not relevant sources.Diego (talk) 20:28, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Power user gripe[edit]

Yura87 (talk) 09:53, 1 November 2011 (UTC) To get rid of the unwanted extra clicks, individual tools or "boxes" (such as "color fill", "spray", "tools, "copy", "paste", "edit") can be "pinned" into a special bar, which, in turn, can be embedded in window title bar, or be a bar below the Ribbon itself. By pinning those tools/boxes to the pinning bar, all you have to "learn" is the single-menu button. Also, by having most tools pinned, you can keep your Ribbon hidden for most of the time, which can be especially helpful on smaller screens (e.q. laptops)

To train new users for the Ribbon GUI, Microsoft altered Paint and WordPad (which were unchanged through Vista).

[If you use WordPad for quick-and-dirty note taking and find the new interface intolerable in this context, be advised that you can copy the WordPad XP .exe to your win 7 installation and use it instead. WHPratt (talk) 12:56, 1 November 2011 (UTC) ]

To train new users for the Ribbon GUI,
Microsoft altered Paint and WordPad (which were unchanged through Vista).
Excuse me, but I don't want to be trained into "gay computing" ;-P (talk) 18:10, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Incorrect assertions by Microsoft[edit]

According to MS help on removing the ribbon, "The Ribbon part of the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface, is designed to help you quickly find the commands that you need to complete a task. Commands are organized in logical groups that are collected together under tabs. Each tab relates to a type of activity, such as writing or laying out a page. To reduce screen clutter, some tabs are shown only when they are needed. When the Ribbon is minimized, you see only the tabs."

I think that many of us may disagree with sections of this paragraph from Microsoft.

Commands are not organized into logical groups, they are merely plastered across the screen in a logic defying manner that only serves to look pretty and make conventional functions hard to find. Finding commands is not quick because the density of icons is spread out across the screen instead of gathered into a close area, so the eye must search back and forth across the screen until a poorly designed icon that is not well related to previous menu choices may be found. It is like reading the this paragraph.

The function choices are not even the same as the 2003 menu choices, so previous users have to hunt through multiple mouse menus to find what is not shown in the new Ribbon.

Tabs may relate to types of activities that do not seem to be carefully related.

The ribbon hogs screen space in an abhorent manner making the document window seem completely irrelevant. Taking of valuable screen space is especially noticeable on short screen laptops.

When I minimize the Ribbon, I'd like it to disappear completely.

Microsoft refers to it's software as "Professional." The Ribbon does not seem to meet the standards for 'professional' since it does not maintain continuity for those professionals who use it.

Is Microsoft's feedback loop completely broken? If sales are their only parameter, then they certainly are not doing themselves and their users any favors. (talk) 16:41, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

- Exactly, the software is not "professional" by any stretch of the imagination. The ribbon is designed for the "Average" user that hunts-and-pecks for every letter on the keyboard. They are used to searching whole minutes for something (like the "E" key). The Ribbon is like a keyboard in that you can spend lots of minutes searching for that letter you're looking for. But the "professional" user might actually touch-type - and familiarity with an interface is important. Instead "professional" users have been reduced to the indignity of the "Average" user and forced to hunt-and-peck for actions that were ingrained over a decade of tool use. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:51, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Any Usability Studies Cited by Microsoft?[edit]

it would be nice to see a reference to any studies Microsoft has released to support its claim of productivity enhancement, given users' self reported impairment of productivity by 20-35%. Allowing for the bald faced facetiousness of the productivity argument, there should be discussion about other strategies justifying this massive antagonizing of their customer base, i.e. is it yet another of Microaoft's many lock-in strategies? Ensuring lock-in of new users to Office vs Open Office, by training new users in a non standard non portable unique and crippling interface. It would also seem to be potential grounds for a class action lawsuit if in fact productivity is reduced as much as the 20-35% report. if so, Microsoft should have foreseen this and conducted sufficient usability studies to defend any such legal action on behalf of its long suffering abusive relationship victims aka 'customers'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:49, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

In my to-do list there's a desire to write a summary of the story of the MS Ribbon. Once you learn that the Office most used command is Paste and that users in focus groups were asking MS for new features that already existed in Office (that obviously they didn't found), it starts to explain many things about the redesign. Office 2007 was certainly designed based both on collected usage statistics and goal-based design. The designers issued a series of blog posts discussing the design process, they should be added as a reference to the article. Diego (talk) 10:09, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Damn, they're already included in the article. Guess nobody read them. Diego (talk) 10:14, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I would still like to see some usability studies quoted in the article and none of those above come close. One of the underlying merits of the classic "WIMP" interface was the number of ergonomic studies that demonstrated the relative merits of keyboard and mouse for different operations. It did demonstrate that the old diehard "command line interface" supporters were plain wrong, at least for the majority of usage. I'm prepared to believe a ribbon interface is easier for the new user and could be as efficient with practice, but as one who still prefers the drop-down menu approach I'd like to see the evidence. Chris55 (talk) 12:33, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
See this (and this if you have access to it). I don't know of other published results by Microsoft that I'm aware of, but the design descriptions above say that they certainly performed them in combination with their usage stats to arrive to the current design. Maybe you could track the papers by Microsoft Research, it's likely that they have published more of them at that venue. But AFAIK the main benefit provided by the Ribbon design is not efficiency with common actions but easier access to some of the more obscure ones. Diego (talk) 12:51, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
The first one you quote is very lukewarm - more users preferred WIMP or were neutral! (section 4.1) I was amused by the user comment "I don’t like it at all. From a modern civilisation back to pictograms and hieroglyphs". I can't (yet) access the second. But they seem to be addressing marketing issues (do people like it) rather than ergonomic issues (is it more effective or learnable). So maybe the reason there isn't any research is that it doesn't show what MS wants it to show. Chris55 (talk) 18:00, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I would judge my productivity with the Ribbon to be 3-5% of that with the existing menu interface. I could just do things, like change page orientation, print, configure styles, and more. Now I have to Google for anything I want to do because the smattering of icons in haphazard fashion frequently don't contain those important functions that were easily found in menus. I swear at anybody who thinks one should use the Ribbon in the workplace. There's no justification for it whatsoever. Bring back the menu. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:54, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Ribbon UI & MS[edit]

Hi, I think about adding more information about what controls this UI is made of (Tabs, Groupboxes...), and about MS's Ribbon UI, and the differences between 2007's version and 2010's version (like adding the backstage), adopting it by others & other MS products, the source code given by MS (for WPF), and the attempts to fit it to other platforms like Java and Linux. Detailed information about the Ribbon UI of MS can be given from here: Ribbons. Galzigler (talk) 13:49, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Any comment? Agree or not? Anyway, I'm planning to start working on it in a "sandbox" under this talk page, when there will be any comments from the users here saying it's necessary for this article. Galzigler (talk) 13:19, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestion. When you believe an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the edit this page link at the top.
The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome.

Just write the content you think is needed, it will be easier to evaluate how much of it is adequate to the article. Some things like the Backstage I don't think are adequate because they are not part of the Ribbon itself, they would be better placed at Microsoft Office 2010. Diego (talk) 13:31, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Ok, but as I mentioned before, the "Backstage" is a part of the MS Ribbon's source code given away by Microsoft, and the information I wish to add to the article is dealing with Microsoft's Ribbon UI. I'll also include the shortcuts at the window's title, which isn't really connected to the Ribbon UI itself. Galzigler (talk) 15:46, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

No Mention of the API for Ribbon[edit]

MS have made an API for the ribbon, hence their attempt at trying to publicise it through Paint and WordPad on Windows 7 (talk) 21:36, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Where is the NPOV?[edit]

This is Microsoft support page so it doesn't belong in Wikipedia. I get it -- Microsoft hosed another product by breaking what worked well. Its unfortunate Microsoft treats customers like street urchins but this doesn't justify using WP to deal with their screw-up. Microsoft has pages for this very purpose. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:48, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Earlier “ribbon”[edit]

This article seems to be focussed on a recent Office UI. I’m pretty sure Word 5.5 for DOS had what it called a ribbon; basically a toolbar with font size, style, bold, italic settings on it. I imagined it was some kind of metaphor for a typewriter ribbon, because it was near the top of the screen. Maybe relevant? Not that I’m really familiar with either software these days. Vadmium (talk, contribs) 13:16, 31 May 2012 (UTC).

I've found some references with a Google Books search ([7],[8]). I'll look to include them into the article. Diego (talk) 14:58, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
They've been flogging the idea of ribbons since WfW 2 eh? They need to find some new ideas! Chris55 (talk) 17:02, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Icon Technology - TechWriter Pro c1992-2012[edit]

Slightly different direction, there's been a RISC-OS based word processor, TechWriter PRO, that's utilised a multi level context sensitive toolbar system since 1992 (Clicking icons on the top level, alters the lower level(s) icons / functionality) e.g (talk) 15:21, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Well spotted! (That's my photo.) We need coverage of this in reliable sources - I wonder what it was referred to, if not a "ribbon", maybe simply a toolbar. -- Trevj (talk) 05:38, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Is this a ribbon patent?[edit]

Is this a ribbon patent? The drawings are grainy, but the second one looks like a ribbon, and is described thusly on the second page of the description:

FIG 2 is an illustration of a computer screen display showing a ribbon shaped user interface for displaying task top level functionality tabs and for displaying a plurality functionalities available under a selected top level functionality tab .

This patent was issued to Microsoft on Feb 14, 2012.

Dbsx (talk) 18:38, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Possibly. The patent doesn't use the term "ribbon" however, and I can't find any citation that conclusively identifies it as related, so it would probably be original research to make the link. Microsoft do have at least two other ribbon-related patents: US 7865868  and US 7802199 . Horatio (talk) 21:31, 7 October 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protection required?[edit]

Wow! Good catch. I can't believe how I missed that for half a year; but then I follow this article mainly through diffs in the watchlist, and I didn't see that one.

Maybe we should ask for semi-protection; although vandalism is not too high, there aren't many watchers either, and this topic has received much hate and strong opinions. Diego (talk) 15:17, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Does it merit adding...[edit]

...that at least one third party company (see has an add-on which allows users to place a single tab in the ribbon which replicates the original menu system? I'd suggest that if there's a market for that, there have to be some seriously discontented ribbon users. (talk) 11:11, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

That's interesting, but we need a reliable source that describe those extensions to include it (something like a newspaper article or op-ed would be enough). Diego (talk) 11:24, 4 January 2013 (UTC)


NitroPDF is a popular software that uses the ribbon interface. In the section about other softwares that also implement this, I think that Nitro could be added, because only RedOffice is mentioned there right now. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:23, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

That would require a reliable source discussing its use of a ribbon interface; and I can't find any. Diego (talk) 10:29, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi. I am right now thinking why any other app using Ribbon is mentioned at all? Wikipedia is not a directory of apps that use Ribbon. Mentioning an app that uses ribbon must have a reason.
For instance, HomeSite is okay, because it has the original art controversy. Microsoft Office is also okay, for its role in the history of ribbon. But otherwise, why are OpenOffice and RedOffice mentioned at all? There are thousands of other open-source or proprietary software that use ribbon and have equal merit (or should I say "equally lack the merit"?) to be included in the article.
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 14:29, 5 March 2013 (UTC)


We have a reference describing how Microsoft arrived to the term, and it applies to a different concept than the one in the Oxford dictionary - which seems to be about printers. The assertion that the term Ribbon was previously in use referring to rows of icons seems unsupported. Diego (talk) 22:06, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi. I had to read your message a few times before I really understand it but yes, the assertion of "term" seems unsupported although "concept" is not. Best regards, Codename Lisa (talk) 22:35, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi, you looked at the wrong definition in the 1996 fourth edition of the Oxford dictionary of computing- definition (2) is about its use to describe the user interface concept and states "2. In some graphical applications, a horizontal row of control icons that can often be redefined to suit the user's requirements." The term "ribbon" is quite old when applied to user interfaces. (talk) 00:20, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi, I have updated the lede definition to "In computing, a horizontal row of control icons in a Graphical user interface;[1] often implemented as a set of toolbars placed on tabs in a tab bar." This covers both the generic and historical usage of the term as well as its current branding as tabbed toolbars under Windows, so hopefully is not controversial (note that the use of the term "ribbon" for tabbed toolbars is *not* common on, for example, Unix-based systems). A similar edit I did previously was removed despite it being fully cited. I have given references and supporting evidence to the original generic usage in (i) the Oxford dictionary of Computing; (ii) early 1980s conference proceedings (iii) Microsoft Word manual, and indeed its own menus using "ribbon" in its original broad sense; the references to the specific usage as a tabbed toolbar in this article, by contrast, all cite company-specific marketing material. It is important that wikipedia articles are encyclopedic and give the accepted general definition of terms across academia, industry, and elsewhere, and are not overly distorted by current marketing terms, which will likely change again on the next product release. (talk) 09:11, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
One request - when using offline sources, such as earlier editions of a dictionary, please quote in the reference the exact sentence used as support. Otherwise it's extremely difficult to verify the assertions in the article. Diego (talk) 13:28, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Latest NPOV deviation: Undue weight on "early use"[edit]

Hey, guys. As I was looking at the edits, I see someone seems to have an urge to mention the so-called "early form" of the definition of ribbon, effectively deviating from neutral point of view principle and turning this article into a content fork of toolbar article. Apart from not succumbing to content fork, in my humble opinion, the early form of the term "ribbon" as an alternative for "toolbar" lacks due weight. Microsoft always invents new terms, unaware of the fact that more popular equivalents are already in use. These terms are often forgotten quickly and Wikipedia WP:NEOLOGISM forbids stirring a whole article in their direction.

I am not proposing to throw this little adventure of Microsoft in neologism territory out of the window (although it might seem beneficial) but at least, let's stick to WP:DUE: This article is about the ribbon as we see in Microsoft Office; any other definition should not override its purpose. A "history" or "Early use" section should be enough.

Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 10:49, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

RfC: Definition of ribbon[edit]

This RfC was closed and consensus was for the definition of ribbon to be "tabbed toolbar", but with historical context and references retained (i.e. current wording as of 7 July, 2013) (talk) 22:46, 8 July 2013 (UTC) (initiator of the RfC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should the definition of the term "ribbon" in HCI refer only to its usage under windows or should the generic term be given equal weight? (talk) 03:42, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

"ribbon" is a term that has over a 20 year history in HCI - defined as "a horizontal row of control icons that can often be redefined to suit the user's requirements." in the Oxford dictionary of computing (2007). In justification for the systemic deletion (1/62013) of my recent cited edits expanding this generic usage of "ribbon" in computing, it is proclaimed that this article is specifically "... about the ribbon as we see in Microsoft Office". I disagree and note that this article is called ribbon (computing) *not* ribbon (Microsoft) and, if so, this bias is not at all made clear in the text.

The current branding by Microsoft is a *specialised usage* highlighting the use of tabbed ribbon, and the broader generic term "ribbon" is not inconsistent with this. The repeated systematic deletion of my cited additions is a flagrant violation of NPOV.

It is also disingenuous to refer to WP:NEOLOGISM which refers to new usages that have no support in the literature. In support of the original general usage of the term "ribbon"in HCI I have given multiple references, (some of which have been deleted): (1) The definition in the Oxford Dictionary of computing 2007. (2) References to conference proceedings 1988. (3) References to books on productivity software ca. 1990s (4) Several references to computer magazine reviews of various software companies' products using "ribbon" in its generic usage (5) References to Microsoft's own usage of the term "ribbon" in the generic sense in the menu (view|ribbon) of earlier versions of Word before 1997, showing that their rebranding of ribbon is merely a marketing refinement of the generic term. (citation was deleted- reproduced here: In early version of Word ca. 1991 was.. " activated by the "View | Ribbon" menu option.[3]) (6) (scores of other references can be found in the literature for the generic term by searching google books, with date set < 2007).

By contrast the only references given in the original article in support of the recent Microsoft-specific specialised usage as "tabbed toolbar" are references to product marketing material by Microsoft. By the definition in WP:NEOLOGISM it is *this* recent marketing usage in Word that is the neologism, and distorting the article to advertise only this branding is a NPOV violation.

It is important the general and historic usage of the term, which subsumes the current Microsoft marketing usage, is given in the lede and not whitewashed; for the practical reason that people researching earlier literature on HCI or using older version of software or software manuals will be completely mislead if the broader term is not the focus of the introduction. Editor Codename Lisa above states that "Microsoft always invents new terms, unaware of the fact that more popular equivalents are already in use." and indeed, for example, the next version of Word may well remove tabs from their ribbon, requiring this current article to be trashed- this is not what is desirable in an encyclopedic article.

I sugest that the Microsoft-specific usage be expanded in its own section (which is already present and in fact constituting the bulk of the article) or alternatively an additional linked article "ribbon (Microsoft)" be created for this usage.

I also request that my relevant citations to the literature be replaced (including my citation to the menu entry "view|ribbon" in previous version of Word referring to an untabbed ribbon), the lede definition be returned to "In computing, a ribbon is a widget in a Graphical User Interface with a horizontal row of control icons, [1] often implemented as a set of toolbars placed on tabs in a tab bar.", and additional independent citations in the literature for the usage of the post 2007 branding in Office should be provided (excluding marketing material) by editors focussed on the Windows-specific usage. Any comments? (talk) 03:42, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose deviation This article is about subject of its first image only (File:Example of a ribbon (user interface element).png) and has cleared WP:N. We already have another article called "toolbar" for the so-called "generic" definition. That said I already see a lot of misrepresentation above. For example, use of the term "Microsoft-specific usage" is factually inaccurate, since Controversy section in the article shows this type of user interface is not Microsoft specific. Best regards, Codename Lisa (talk) 07:23, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
  • I agree with the view that the additional wording creates undue weighting for previous iterations of the tabbed toolbar that did not garner as much notability. In the early use section, I prefer the use of 'control' over 'button', especially as the other sections say 'buttons and other controls'. Ploppity (talk) 08:51, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment I suggest this RfC be reworded so that it's obvious what option editors are opposing/supporting. Leading on from the above oppose deviation, I suggest something like include historical information with an equal weighting. However, if the original concept and the recent Microsoft-branded incarnation can be proved to have distinctly separate notabilities, then perhaps that's the way to go and this RfC will be redundant (although we'd then be left with an article title discussion!). Clearly the Microsoft software and Controversy sections in their current forms give undue weight to an article discussing the overall concept in an encyclopedic manner. -- Trevj (talk) 14:18, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
Sorry if I missed something relating ribbon to the toolbar, but I didn't think they were the same thing. If they're interchangeable, then some content could be proposed for merging from here into the toolbar article. -- Trevj (talk) 14:29, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
Hi. Actually, they are not the same thing. (That's our problem.) Ribbons contain toolbars; in fact one ribbon can have several. The problematic issue here is that our guest editor here have found evidence that some people have once upon a time (before the invention of the current "ribbons") tried to use the word "ribbon" as an alternative for "toolbar"; an attempt that is evidently failed.
Now our guest editor wishes to include a mention of that long-gone "ribbon". So far, so good: I say do it, because doing so makes it clear that the subject of this article is not what the ad for WordPerfect v5.5 meant. But my point of view is that this so-called disambiguation must only be done in "Early use" section. Our guest editor's proposition, however, to put the original definition in the lead. Result: You'd ask yourself "what is the difference between ribbon and toolbar" and "why are they not merged"?
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 19:22, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
As the "guest editor" (I thought that described all wikipedians) who initiated this RFC let me clarify my position and suggested changes, in response to the above. In this article the *only* definition of "ribbon" in an authoritative reference in this article is the one I provided in the 2007 Oxford dictionary of computing as "a horizontal row of control icons" (I believe this is also the definition used in later versions as well) and I have also given references to early conference proceedings and other references using it in this general sense, and references showing that Microsoft themselves have also always in Word used the term "ribbon" in their menus and elsewhere in this general sense, long before their design was refined with tabs in 2007. The key point that seems to have been missed here is that this general definition *subsumes* the currently popular tabbed toolbar definition which is also a horizontal row of icons, albeit with tabs added to the top. The term "ribbon" is a general one that includes toolbars, tabbed toolbars and similar variations. So the definition I propose is the following which covers both the current popular usage under Windows and the previous more common usage-
"In computing, a ribbon is a widget in a Graphical User Interface with a horizontal row of control icons, [1] often implemented as a tabbed toolbar." Where [1] is a reference to the Oxford dictionary of computing definition.
(Therefore, the separate Toolbar article can be considered a summary-style expanded description of one particular usage of ribbon and so should remain as a separate article).
My main complaint about about this article is that it is tendentious- is initially presents itself as referring to a general user interface element used across computing platforms but then changes to define "ribbon" as "whatever such such horizontal element is used in the current version of Word". There are by the way no references given that make it clear that even Microsoft considers tabs to be a defining feature of their current implementation of "The Ribbon"- they just refer to it as one component in their "fluent" UI, and it is entirely possible that later versions of Word could remove tabs from their ribbon. A related issue is that the current definition refers to a "tab bar"- I have no idea what that is despite having extensive experience in UNIX software development and the term is not defined. I assume it is a Windows-specific term for an implementation detail for tabbed toolbars, so either that term should be defined or simply "tabbed toolbar" used, as in my preferred text. (talk) 01:27, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
Hello. There are two mistakes in your logic:
  1. When someone wants to write an article, he or she first chooses the subject, then proceeds to choose a name and write contents. It is not the other way around. The subject of this article is what you see in its picture. Per WP:TITLE, the name "ribbon" is chosen for this topic. But you do it the other way around: You stray from the subject because you have seen a definition for "ribbon" somewhere and now try to make the article define that ribbon. Well, this article is not talk about that ribbon.
  2. Wikipedia does not acknowledge anything as "authoritative source". Instead, per WP:NPOV, Wikipedia seeks to introduce all significant points of view without passing judgment on them. With that in mind, Dictionary of Computing published by Oxford University Press – not Oxford dictionary! – is only the point of view of one writer. We have many others cited in this article.
I noticed several flaws in your message:
  • "There are by the way no references given that make it clear that even Microsoft considers tabs to be a defining feature of their current implementation of The Ribbon" Wrong! Sources #7, #8, #9 and #10 specifically introduce tabs. In fact, part of #7 about contextual tabs is very important: [9] Finally, two pictures of other products that used ribbons before Microsoft also shows tabs.
  • "...but then changes to define 'ribbon' as whatever such such horizontal element is used in the current version of Word." This happens only in "Microsoft software" section. Why should a section titled "Microsoft software" talk about something else?
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 03:08, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment This looks like developing into one of those futile, distasteful, long-running talk-page Rfc wars. I won't get into it myself, but beg the parties interested to ensure that all the information (including historical information) of reasonable interest to at least some readers be included, and please restrict the mutual sniping to dealing with modes of expression rather than choice of content, to avoid NPOV, spam etc. JonRichfield (talk) 08:45, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
  • I like the current version where the meaning as "toolbar" synonym is identified as an early use, given that nowadays it's not used that way. Diego (talk) 11:00, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Coming from the Feedback request service, so mostly just another reader, with general editor, plus a user point of view. About the tone, I agree with JonRichfield, this has the mark of the beginnings of one of those never-ending futile WP discussions; having a user shouting a bolded "Wrong!" to another and calling him/her a depreciative sounding "guest editor" are not the least of the bad signs. Please be civil. About some of the arguments, it makes little sense arguing an article is about <this image>, we name it the best we could, and that is it. If the name (also) describes something else, or has a broader sense, we should give that information to our readers. As a user, I feel a "ribbon" is simply whatever Microsoft decided to call their new set of toolbars. - Nabla (talk) 07:20, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
  1. ^ Jensen Harris (2005-09-14) Enter the Ribbon. MSDN Blogs. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  2. ^ Jensen Harris (2005-09-14) Enter the Ribbon. MSDN Blogs. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  3. ^ Bryans L. Pfaffenberger (1 July 1991). Microsoft Word Quick Reference. Que. ISBN 978-0-88022-720-9. Retrieved 30 May 2013. Select View Ribbon to activate the Ribbon. 

Grammar & Capitalization[edit]

the Ribbon vs. the ribbon:[edit]

See the following page from Microsoft: "Ribbon" is capitalized. The article also includes expressions such as "work with Ribbon programs", leaving demonstrating that "the" is not part of the feature name itself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fishicus (talkcontribs) 22:53, 8 February 2015‎ (UTC)

Hello, Fishicus
There are a couple of problems with this.
  1. Wikipedia does not concern itself with how Microsoft writes. Our policy regarding capitalization is MOS:CAPS, which says "ribbon", when not a proper noun, must not be capitalized.
  2. You are looking at the wrong ribbon! The ribbon that you changed was about a different ribbon, in 1991.
  3. Please be advised that according to WP:REVERT policy upon encountering a dispute, you should stop editing and start a discussion until a consensus is achieved. Your reviewer is allowed to revert your change until a consensus is achieved but responding his revert with a counter-revert is edit warring and is frowned upon.
If you have any problems, replies or questions for the above, please reply here. I'll drop by.
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 03:23, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
When discussing Microsoft's Ribbon, "Ribbon" is a proper noun. Also, a product/feature of another company should be spelled in the manner that the company which produces it spells it--whether written by Wikipedia or not. E.g., "iPhone" is spelled as such because that's how Apple spells it, even though by your logic it should be spelled "iphone".
The references used are actually dated incorrectly. The first citation in this sentence is from 10 Dec 1990, while the third citation is from 22 Jan 1990. I'll update the article.
Aside from this, it appears confusing to use both forms, one capitalized and the other not, in the same sentence when referring to the same idea. Since the second usage is a quote and thus can't be changed, it makes sense to change the first usage for consistency.
The word "the" is not part of the feature name and should not be italicized or in quotes.
Fishicus 06:08, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree it should be capitalized when used as a proper noun, and not when used as a generic name - i.e. it should be "a ribbon" vs "the Ribbon", at least where it's clear that we're referring to the name of that component in Microsoft tools. Not merely because this is the way Microsoft calls their feature, but because everybody else does it - see the principles laid out at MOS:NAMECAPS and WP:COMMONNAME. When talking about this specific implementation by that vendor, it makes sense to use the official name; when talking about the component as a generic widget, the lowercase form can be used - as we would say "button", "menu", etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Diego Moya (talkcontribs) 13:42, 9 February 2015‎ (UTC)
Hello again, Fishicus. Yes, "Microsoft Ribbon" is a proper noun. It is the WPF ribbon control. Notice how Microsoft uses "ribbon" to refer to the concept in general and "Ribbon" to refer to WPF control. This article is not about that control.
A search in Trademark Electronic Search System shows Microsoft hasn't trademarked "Ribbon". For iPhone, see MOS:CAPS § Trademarks.
As for Diego Moya's comment, I am checking sources over the Internet and it seems they use both forms inconsistently.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] So, unless they all consistently use it capitalized, we cannot take as granted.
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 04:40, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

multiple vs. Multiple[edit]

As per Wikipedia's page describing capitalization following a colon: "American English goes further and permits writers to similarly capitalize the first word of any independent clause following a colon." The phrase beginning with "multiple" is a dependent clause and thus should not be capitalized. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fishicus (talkcontribs) 22:53, 8 February 2015‎ (UTC)

What you say about colon is correct but incomplete. Colon (punctuation) is just an article, not our policy. Our policies are MOS:COLON and MOS:STABILITY. MOS:COLON says that both forms (with or without capitalization) are correct for one sentence fragment. And MOS:STABILITY says the no editor is allowed to change between one correct style to another, unless to establish consistency. What you did defies both these.
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 03:28, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
There's no mention of capitalization in MOS:COLON. Both the AP and Chicago guides also indicate that dependent clauses should not be capitalized. — Fishicus 06:08, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
@Fishicus: Hello again. If you look more carefully, MOS:COLON says: "Sometimes, more in American than British usage, the word following a colon [...]". But there isn't anything about capitalizing a sentence fragment or single word after a ":". It is not forbidden, it is a matter of optional style and as MOS:STABILITY says, it is treated in a first come first served basis.
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 04:26, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Minimize vs. minimize[edit]

See the following page from Microsoft: The names of buttons are capitalized and neither italicized nor put in quotes. This is consistent with other publications such as the following from CNET: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fishicus (talkcontribs) 22:53, 8 February 2015‎ (UTC)

Hi. As I told you above, Wikipedia does not concern itself with Microsoft's editing style. You can capitalize it if you put into quotation mark, meaning that you are quoting what is written elsewhere as is. But when it comes out, it is the editor's decision.
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 03:31, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
See above. — Fishicus 06:08, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
@Fishicus:. Hi. Actually, let's have a compromise and finish this discussion, okay? Putting it between the quotation marks ("Minimize") satisfies both of us, right? Best regards, Codename Lisa (talk) 04:50, 11 February 2015 (UTC)