Random thoughts for a Friday afternoon

I haven't blogged in a week, and I figured I should post some thoughts before heading out for the three day weekend:

  1. American Football : It's good to see football season starting up again. I went to the Seahawk vs. Raider game last night with my brother and they had a pretty good showing. The first Husky game is tomorrow and that should be fun. My wife doesn't really like football but somehow I got her to agree to come with me to at least 5 of the Husky games this year which should be fun.
  2. Ecma Standard : The updated spec has been out for a week now, and I think more people really like the new organization structure. I think people are also pretty impressed with the amount of work that the TC has been able to accomplish over the past 9 months. It's really an amazing group of people.
  3. Feedback on the standard : We're seeing some public feedback coming in on the updated drafts. For anyone interested in providing feedback, just go to this site, and the editor will receive your comments and add them to the issue list.
  4. Status report on Redmond Face-to-face : I don't think I ever provided a link to the status report from the Redmond face-to-face meetings we had a couple weeks ago. I talked about it a bit, but if you want the official word, you can go here: http://www.ecma-international.org/news/TC45_current_work/TC45-2006-50.htm. Some cool things to note from the report were that we:
  • Devoted a large part of the time to reviewing and solving open issues.
  • Approved a set of format and schema changes.
  • Completed the Conformance clause and defined conformance requirements for arithmetic precision in SpreadsheetML.
  • Completed the SpreadsheetML formula specification.
  • Revised the DrawingML 2D transform specification.
  • Redefined how to optionally insert controls (e.g., ActiveX, Java applets, etc) to support multiple platforms.
  • Structured the standard into five parts to improve its overall readability.
  • Planned to provide the Office Open XML Schemas in the Relax-NG format as an informative section in a future draft, in addition to the normative W3C XML Schema Definitions.
  1. Final draft of the Ecma spec : It's really exciting that we're now just about a month away from finalizing the spec. We're meeting again face-to-face in Norway at the end of this month. I turn 30 in a couple weeks, and a couple weeks after that we ship the Open XML format spec. Should be a great month!
  2. Confusion between applications and formats : I had some people point me at this blog post the other day, and there is definitely some contradictory information there. While I won't get into the whole discussion around the TCO of Office vs. OpenOffice, I do want to point out that it's really odd that folks are claiming that the study somehow proved that ODF would save money. The study actually says that the costs of using MS Office with Open XML and MS Office with ODF were the same (meaning the formats had no impact). So the study was really just trying to say that using OpenOffice (regardless of format) is a lower cost than that of using Microsoft Office (regardless of format). So I'm not really sure how the file formats got referenced in the article, but there have been confusions like this in the past. Another point people still don't seem to be aware of is that existing MS Office customers get to use Open XML and ODF for free. Office 2007 is not a requirement to use either, so there is no payment required at all to start using the new Open XML formats. I'll leave it to others though to debate the accuracy of the study in terms of the TCO of the applications themselves (obviously I have a different opinion J).

Well, have a great weekend everyone. I'll start blogging more about interesting pieces of the spec next week for those of you who don't have the time to read through all 5000 pages.


Comments (10)
  1. Bruce says:

    If you need to reliably provide both XSD and RNG versions of the spec (a really good idea), it’s generally easier to author in RNG and convert (using Trang) to XSD, than vice versa (I’m pretty sure do to problems with XSD). In fact, I think Trang often does a better job creating valid XSD schemas than dedicated XSD editors 😉

    Might feel like too late to consider that, but keep it in mind. Will become more important when you move to ISO presumably.

  2. orcmid says:

    I agree.  The new organization is far superior.  I love that OPC and the versioning/compatibility stuff are included as independently-usable sub-standards (though there is some editorial work to make that all clear).

    Meanwhile, I have some pent-up mailnote drafts on the specification that I’ve been sitting on after registering on the ECMA site.  Is there some sort of acknowledgment/confirmation/handshake that I must go through first (I registered  a week ago) or can I simply start sending them in?

  3. Aaron says:

    Go HUSKIES and I guess the Hawks!

  4. W. Nema says:


    Would you please cover the topic of Table of Contents in WordML? How to have the TOC auto-adjust to sections or subsections added by XSLT version of WordXml, i.e. subsections generated by <xsl:for-each.

  5. orcmid says:

    My question was answered.  I don’t know if I missed a confirmation e-mail or not, but this morning I received traffic from the feedback list.  That’s nice.  It is valuable to know what others are saying too.

  6. orcmid says:

    Well, not so fast there sparky.  I do get mail from the list, but my own submissions bounce with a 5.7.1 (whatever that is).  I bet the recognition of list members is brittle and doesn’t work with "sent from blah on behalf of myself@acm.org" (an address that I can’t actually send from but that I use as my all-purpose mail address).  I hate the inconsistency of SMTP security and sender recognition by different list systems.  I hate it.  I hate it.  

    I now need to get them to drop my @acm.org address (so I don’t get a steady stream of duplicates) and register with the address that I send from but that I don’t want people starting to put in their address books and use for me.  Grumble …

  7. BrianJones says:


    We’ve actually found some tools that will do the XSD -> RelaxNG conversion, so hopefully we’ll be able to get them out there soon.


    We’re undefeated! 🙂

    W. Nema,

    I’ll try to pull together a post on TOCs.


    Let me know if you get that working or not. If there are problems I’ll talk to the folks at Ecma running the site…


  8. Brian:  I’ll be at the Huskies v. Ducks game in Eugene in November.  I don’t know if you go to away games, but if you’re going to that one, drop me a line and I’ll buy you a beer.

  9. orcmid says:

    Brian: Well, it wasn’t what I thought.  On registering a second time, I received a nice e-mail reminding me that I was already registered and could just post to the list.  Oh, wait, I have been using the wrong list address … !! Ack !!

    I fixed that, but now I can’t tell if I’ve reached the list but it is slow or because they don’t echo to the submitters.   I guess I will know eventually!

  10. BrianJones says:

    Dick, I don’t usually make it to the away games. It’s hard enough to convince my wife to let me spend time on Saturdays and Sundays at the Husky and Hawk home games. 🙂
    Thanks for the offer though. If I do make it down there I’ll definitely take you up on it!

    – Brian

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