ODF to Open XML Translator Project Update

Last week we held the Ecma TC45 face-to-face meetings out here in Redmond. It was a really productive week, and there should be a summary of the meetings posted to the Ecma site soon (in addition to an updated working draft of the spec). I’ll blog more about that once the summary is posted, but in the mean time I wanted to point out another big milestone that was reached last week.

Last Friday, the folks working on the ODF translator tools released the August CTP (0.2-M1 release). This is the first major update since the initial prototype was released earlier this summer.

It’s great to see that they are making such quick progress. Since the initial launch (just over a month ago) the following has occurred:

  • There have been over 25,000 downloads of the add-in for Word 2007, command line tools & source code.
  • The ODF translator project was one of the top 25 projects on source-forge for three weeks in a row
  • There has been a ton of positive feedback from governments since the announcement. As I mentioned in my original post, government customers were the key motivation behind the project.
  • There have been a number of feature requests, scenarios, defects, and other feedback received from the community since the project was launched.

Some of the cool things added with this first milestone:

  • Support for Word 2003 & Word XP
  • Separate install kits for Office 2007, 2003, & XP (as described here http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/download.html)
  • Much richer support for the rich functionality in a wordprocessing document. There is now comprehensive support for Text, Formatting, Paragraphs, Images, Styles, Page Setup & document metadata scenarios.
  • Setup and installation testing has now been done using different versions of Office and operating systems.

Some other cool stuff has happened specifically around some of the target scenarios. For example, there are now compliance tests to assure that the translations works with the EU’s day-to-day document processing scenarios. Some of the exit-criteria for this release included a scenario in which the translation of an EU law document into another EU language by an external service provider using OpenOffice; and a second scenario was around a member of the EU parliament requesting the draft version of a national law document from a member state public body which uses OpenOffice.

It really is good to see this kind of progress taking place. The schedule for the project as a whole is available up on the sourceforge site, and if you’re interested you should go take a look. One thing that I really like about this project is that it helps to show that there are scenarios for different documents formats (HTML, RTF, plain text, ODF, Open XML, custom defined XML), and any time the customer gets to choose their format based on their needs is a good thing. The value of these two open, documented, XML formats (ODF and Open XML) really shines through as we can all look at the source code behind the project and see how the translations are being done.


Comments (10)

  1. Good news!  I am staying away from source code there for I.P. reasons, but I am very glad to hear that the progress is continuing well.  Please keep us updated.

  2. Dan says:

    This is excellent news. Have already downloaded the Word 2003 version of the ODF Translator.

    Very impressive to see the number of features, scenarios being tested. Good Job!

  3. BrianJones says:


    Are there some I.P. problems you’ve seen with the project? Or is it just that you’re working on something else that would cause some I.P. problems?


  4. I’m just working on something where I need to be sure the I.P. rights are extremely clear, so it is best not to download anything that might muddy the waters in any way.  I am probably being paranoid, but it seems better to keep my hands completely clean on this.

    For the record, I have not heard of, nor do I anticipate, any intellectual property issues with using the translator.  It sounds like it has been handled just fine.

  5. BrianJones says:

    That’s too bad, but I’m glad to hear it’s not a problem with the project itself.


  6. Wesley Parish says:

    Just a question: you know I’ve made a nuisance in the past over the issue of MS Works users – mostly because I keep having to help them in a largely MS Office-using world, not because I have any special grudge against Microsoft Works, etc …

    What I would like to do is create an MS Works file format filter for OpenOffice.org – I’ve tried to use the MS Office Works file format filter, without much success and an every-increasing feeling that this is what constitutes for a techie, the "Ever-decreasing Circles" of the BBC sitcom of the same name.

    Are there any Microsoft Works SDKs, or other such MSDN resources I could use to do this?  (I mean, MS Works has the writing on the wall, as surely as MS Win9x had it.  But the customers we have requiring printing of their MS Works documents, don’t exactly know – or care – about Microsoft’s grand business plans – all they want is to get their documents printed.)

    Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.  My email address is:

    wes [dot] parish [at] paradise [dot] net [dot] nz


  7. The new ODF to Open XML Translator Project has been getting a lot of attention lately. This is a collaborative…

  8. Thanks Brian for keeping the OpenXml community updated.

    As the leader of the ODF Translator project, I would just mention the recent opening of the "ODF Converter Team Blog" (http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/blog/), that speaks about I let you guess what 😉

    Best regards,


  9. Jean Goffinet pointed out that he and the folks working on the ODF to Open XML converter project now…