German standards body creates new working group to focus on interoperability


I was having lunch with Jean Paoli today and he told me about this press release that came out this morning from the German national standards body (DIN), where they’ve formed a working group that will focus on the translation of document formats in order to support interoperability. http://www.fokus.fraunhofer.de/fokus/fokus/presse/meldungen_fokus/2007/05/DIN-E.pdf

I just finished reading though it, and according to the article they will create “an in-depth Technical Report detailing how to translate between the two document standards Office Open XML (Ecma 376) and ODF 1.0 (ISO/IEC 26300) in order to support interoperability between the two formats.”

The standards group will be led by Gerd Schürmann who is head of the eGovernment unit at the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS in Berlin. Gerd hit the nail on the head with this statement: “Instead of either/or, we’re enabling interoperability between various document standards.”

This is awesome news for folks who are either ODF supporters or OpenXML supporters as well as those of us who are both ODF and OpenXML supporters. It means we’ll have a standards group focused on that translation so that we can easily get documents into the format we choose.

I guess the only folks who won’t like this news are those actually opposed to one of the formats, but there are only a handful of them (and we all know them well by now <g/>).

According to the press release: “The Working Group is open and is inviting international experts who would like to contribute to the Working Group’s findings.” I was really excited when I saw this, because it means that not only do we have the technical expertise from DIN and Fraunhofer, but this standards work can benefit from the entire international community.

As I’m sure you all noticed, a couple months ago we saw a big shift in momentum, where the discussions around file formats were no longer driven by the religious zealots, but instead by the folks who actually want to build solutions and focus on the technology. For those of us involved in document and content management, ODF and OpenXML have created a whole new ecosystem that is still in its infancy. That’s why there is so much interest and excitement. See my post from earlier this week if you’re curious to hear about what other people are doing with these open formats. http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2007/05/08/openxml-community-growing.aspx

-Brian

Comments (33)

  1. Ian Easson says:

    This is a great development.

  2. Rune says:

    "religious zealots" is neat, it allows you to address everyone who disagrees with you for whatever the reason and dismiss them, all in the space of two words.

    If you can’t be civil, you can’t be constructive…

  3. Wu MingShi says:

    [quote Rune]"religious zealots" is neat, it allows you to address everyone who disagrees with you for whatever the reason and dismiss them, all in the space of two words.[/quote]

    Come on… lets not do name calling.

    There are zealots on both sides, but in the middle there are a lot of reasonable people [like me ;)]

    I must start by declaring I have a bias towards ODF.

    I don’t see this as an endorsement of either ODF or OOXML or neither both can interoperate. I see   it merely as a effort that acknowledge the world will be splited into the two camps for sometime being.

    Not sure such a working committee it is necessary either. Novell is doing it, one group sponsored by Microsoft is doing virtually the same on sourceforge.net. There are several other ODF to OOXML bi-directional converters around. Why not just leave these vendors to do whatever they want. Do we really need a pipeline to do this? After all, it is just format conversions. Sometime some people do daily without a pipeline.

    If we did successfully finally have a FULL ODF to OOXML (and vice-versa), doesn’t this confirm there is no need for OOXML as ODF proponent claims?

    We see Microsoft Germany in the committee but where is IBM. Surely DIN should use it mussle to get both talking to each other. Otherwise it stand accuse of having a loop-sided committee.

    Most confusingly, Why isn’t Novell in the committee? Surely its experience with creating c converter for OpenOffice.org is valuable?

  4. Rune says:

    @Wu MingShi

    It appears I made you think I endorse/support using "religious zealots".

    I made the mistake of using sarcasm to try to get my point across that those to words( and others alike) does not belong in any serious forum.

    The least we can be is civil.

  5. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    Rune,

    Not sure how long you’ve been following my blog, but I have always been open to criticism and encouraged an open discussion. There had been a handful of vocal zealots who refused to ever debate at the technical level but instead stay at a more philosophical/religious level. I’ve noticed this noise has started to go away a bit and we’re now moving on to much more interesting and valuable discussions.

    Having a bias towards ODF (like Wu MingShi) does not put you into this category of zealotry. If, however, you are someone who thinks OpenXML should be blocked at ISO at all costs, then that triggers a red flag for me. I think the standardization of OpenXML and ODF were both extremely good for the community, and the technical guidelines we’ll see come out of DIN around translation between the two formats will be equally valuable.

    Wu MingShi,

    You’re absolutely correct that this is not an endorsement for either format, but instead an endorsement for both together. I think there will be a lot of value in this work as we’ll have a standard set of guidelines to follow in translating between the two formats. This should help improve interoperability overall. As you said the industry has already kicked off some similar workstreams, but we’ve seen governments in particular show a preference for standards as a way of helping to direct those workstreams.

    I hope that IBM will decide to join this effort as well. They should be able to provide a lot of expertise on the ODF formats and I’m sure DIN would love to see them join. They’ve extended an open invitation so let’s hope that IBM takes them up on the offer.

    -Brian

  6. Doug Mahugh says:

    “Instead of either/or, we’re enabling interoperability between various document standards” — Gerd Schürmann,

  7. Brian says:

    Brian,

    I happen to be opposed to OpenXML being an ISO standard.

    The reasons are many, the main one being that having two standards added to ISO in such a short time frame intended for the same purpose.

    I really don’t see why two standards should be better than one.

    This reason really has nothing to do with preferring one format over another, through out ODF for all I care, just give me one single ISO document standard that no single company controls.

    Does that make me a zealot in your eyes? It is hard to tell from your explanation.

    It might be a good idea to stop using the term since it is so vague and at the same time inflammatory.

  8. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    Hey Brian, if you’re not a zealot than you’re not a zealot. You should know better than anyone else.

    You said you were opposed to OpenXML being an ISO standard, but then said you would also be happy with throwing out ODF. Obviously that’s not a valid option, as it’s already been accepted as a standard. With that in mind, should we also say that just because ODF was a year ahead of OpenXML in the standards game, that it should be the sole winner? That doesn’t really make much sense to me. That would stiffle innovation.

    There are plenty of cases of multiple standards out there. Heck, look at the number of standards in communication technologies, or even in something as basic as a screw. If you’ve ever built something, you’ve probably seen that there is value to a few different screw standards where each is matched well to it’s use.

    OpenXML and ODF do very different things. ODF would not work for the majority of our customers (those who don’t care about file formats and just want everything to work). If we weren’t able to create OpenXML, then we would have been stuck with the old binary formats instead. ODF could have been an optional format but not the default. In order to move all legacy documents into this new open world we had to standardize our XML formats which had evolved over the years to fit those needs.

    Now we have a standards group that is going to work on defining translation between the two formats. So if you really want everything to be in ODF, you’re free to make that decision. There will be a well defined method for transfering from OpenXML into ODF with as little data and functionality loss as possible. In the end though there will be some loss (either direction), and that will need to be factored into your decision.

    -Brian

  9. Daniel says:

    I definitely understand the benefit of having OpenXML as the default MS Office file format.  I don’t know enough about standards setting to really say whether it should be ISO or not, but I do know that it’s hard to side with Microsoft when it feels like the company is talking out of both sides of its mouth.  It feels like there is a lot of playing dirty with file formats by the company, so how do we know what to trust, even if there is some validity?  — It seems to me that MS has gone to great lengths to make it very difficult for those who want ODF support to have it integrated as a first-class format. The trial version of MS Word that is available to purchasers of new computers seems sneakily designed to trap customer data into the new format without them being fully aware (no copy and paste ability, no save as .doc ability)– in this regard, I think that MS saying that it knows what "customers want" is very disingenuous, as it is obvious that MS is benefiting from customers’ ignorance, and that the company has a vested interest in keeping the customer uneducated and confused about data format issues. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I am a Microsoft customer, having purchased both Vista and Office 2007 (which is a great product), but I also want much better ODF support.  I feel strongly that even if there are a good many employees at Microsoft who are arguing OpenXML standardization for the right reasons, the overall push by the company (in Massachusetts, for example) seems very disingenuous in light of the steps it has taken to give OpenXML a huge upperhand in Office 2007.  You can call me a zealot if you want but it is hard not to have an emotional reaction when on one hand you see the company trying to make reasonable arguments about OpenXML’s technical merits via blogs such as your own, and on the other hand acting in ways that seem pretty dirty.  I’m not saying that Microsoft’s competitors always act or have always acted correctly–  but there seems to be both a qualitative and quantitative difference in Microsoft’s integrity (not that of most individual employees such as yourself, but of the upper management who wind up making many of the strategic decisions that make things more difficult for me as a consumer, like preventing first class Save-As functionality for ODF).  This makes the company hard to trust.  You can make as many technical arguments as you want, and many of them are probably valid, but at the end of the day, it is hard for me to believe that the main drive behind Microsoft’s actions in relation to OpenXML is as pro-consumer and virtuous as is claimed.

  10. tretyt says:

    Brian Jones said "OpenXML and ODF do very different things."

    Apparently, you have never installed OpenOffice.

    Speaking on "religious zealots", how many evangelists are on the MS payroll? And your posts appear on "OfficeZealot".

    Of course, no evidence of cognitive dissonance should distract you from your fight to cure cancers and bring peace to the world. Asshole.

  11. Ian Easson says:

    In the current context, "religious zealot" means anyone who does not consider a proposal on its merit, but rather only concerns themselves with who originated it, for whatever reason.  There is a lot of that which has gone in the subject of document standards recently.

    The record shows that such behaviour has been limited to one side of the debates about OOXML.

  12. Francis says:

    I know it’s off-topic, but I don’t know where else to ask this question: is document corruption possible with the new XML formats?

    I have been having some problems with Word. People have suggested document corruption is at fault. But as far as I can gather, Word validates files against its schema–at least it strenuously objects whenever I incorrectly tweak a setting in the DOCX. So, theoretically speaking, is it possible for the XML to become corrupted in such a way that Word does not trap it?

  13. Rune says:

    How Brian ended up in the name I have no idea… anyway it was mine…

    Brian,

    An insult is an insult whether true or not so the question is who did you direct the question at? the definition you gave me was very broad.

    So the only reason you advocate 2 standards is because you can’t get rid of ODF. which would mean that your support for ODF is only skin deep

    I hope you realize that the reason for the multiple standards on screws are because they have different uses.

    What binary document can’t be converted to ODF? and what must be changed to accomplish this?

    A converter between OpenXML an ODF. from your argument that shouldn’t be possible.

    If your can’t to Bin->ODF, then this is also not possible Bin->OpenXML->ODF

  14. Ian Easson says:

    Rune,

    You latest comments are getting more and more incomprehensible.  Please think a bit before writing.

    You write:

    "An insult is an insult whether true or not so the question is who did you direct the question at?"  What question are you talking about?  Do you think you have been insulted?

    You write:

    "the definition you gave me was very broad."  What definition are you talking about?

    You write:

    "the only reason you advocate 2 standards is because you can’t get rid of ODF."  

    No, Rune, he wrote that the reason is that ODF won’t work for the most users of Microsoft Office.  (In case you can’t figure out why, I’ll tell you:  use of ODF would cause Office users to lose much of their functionality, because ODF can’t express it faithfully.)

    You write:

    "the reason for the multiple standards on screws are because they have different uses."  Just as OOXML and ODF, while both document standards, have different uses:  the former is for MS Office and any software that wants to properly interoperate with its documents, and the latter is for OpenOffice / Star Office and any software that wants to properly interoperate with its documents.

    You write:

    "What binary document can’t be converted to ODF?"

    Answer: any of MS Word’s ".doc", Excel’s ".xls", and PowerPoints’s ".ppt".  Why?  Because the ODF standard does not faithfully represent them.  (It can do this approximately — we can argue whether it’s 90% accurate or 98%, but is definitly not 100%)

    You write:

    "… what must be changed to accomplish this?"

    Answer:  ODF must be enhanced until it is functionally equivalent to OOXML.

    You write: "A converter between OpenXML an ODF. from your argument that shouldn’t be possible."

    Answer:  a partial converter is not only possible, but exists.  But a (100%) faithful converter is indeed impossible, because the diifferences between ODF and OOXML is not just structural (how the data is stored), but functional (what types of data are stored).  The reason for these differences in data is fundamental, and will only disappear if and when OpenOffice/StarOffice become a 100% clone of MS Office’s capabilities, instead of their current limited state.

    You write:

    "If your can’t to Bin->ODF, then this is also not possible Bin->OpenXML->ODF"

    Answer:  Yes, you are right, but for thee wrong reason.  The part that doesn’t work faithfully is OOXML to ODF, for the reasons described above.

  15. Daniel says:

    Hi Ian,

    "Answer: any of MS Word’s ".doc", Excel’s ".xls", and PowerPoints’s ".ppt".  Why?  Because the ODF standard does not faithfully represent them.  (It can do this approximately — we can argue whether it’s 90% accurate or 98%, but is definitly not 100%)"

    But don’t you think that it could be a lot closer to 100% if Microsoft wanted it to be, at least in regard to word processing documents? (Spreadsheet functionality does seem to be underspecified by ODF, so it seems that would be difficult.)  I can’t imagine that someone with access to the internals of both Microsoft’s OOXML and the OpenOffice code (or AbiWord or KOffice) wouldn’t be able to do a much better job at creating a functional converter (Maybe I’m mistaken, but I’m assuming that the people MS hired to work on the converters aren’t being given access to MS’s code– please correct me if I’m wrong).

    It is again hard for me to determine how honest MS is being when it says "ODF really wouldn’t be able to express MS documents correctly".  I do not doubt that there are currently limitations to ODF– for example, in relation to spreadsheet formulas.  But when MS is also saying things like "it is too very difficult to incorporate ODF into the Save As menu", which seems ludicrous (I mean– even if that’s how it the API was designed, it was MS’s conscious choice to design it like that) it makes me suspicious that MS isn’t really being all that forthcoming.  Even if there are ODF supporters who act poorly, that’s no excuse for MS to act poorly.

  16. Ian Easson says:

    Daniel,

    No, I don’t think that it could have been made any better.  The reason is simply that the data contained in the file formats is different, which reflects the differences in capabilities.

    Let me give one trivial example which illustrates what I mean.  And, just so it can’t be said I am biased against ODF, it will be an example in which ODF is more prowerful than OOXML, OK?  In MS Office, if a paragraph uses widows and orphans, the OOXML formats just marks that it does.  ODF, on the other hand, marks the number of lines (2 or more)that the top of the paragraph has to be within the bottom of the page for the windows and orphans capability to make the paragraph start on the next page.  (In MS Office’s case, I think the number of fixed at two lines. I could have this wrong, but it’s not relevant to the example).  Why this difference in file formats?  Because in this case, OpenOffice is more general (powerful) than MS Office.

    So, you can see there is no way, even with total knowledge of how the code works in both cases, how you can faithfully translate one file format to another.  

  17. Daniel says:

    Hi Ian, Thanks for the good example.  Do you know whether OpenXML and/or ODF provide the ability for some sort of extensibility for cases where the format proper doesn’t allow strict 1 to 1 correspondence?  Would something like that make sense?

  18. John says:

    [quote]But when MS is also saying things like "it is too very difficult to incorporate ODF into the Save As menu", which seems ludicrous (I mean– even if that’s how it the API was designed, it was MS’s conscious choice to design it like that) it makes me suspicious that MS isn’t really being all that forthcoming.  Even if there are ODF supporters who act poorly, that’s no excuse for MS to act poorly.[/quote]

    Isn’t the Microsoft sponsored ODF plugin using the save as functionality ? I think the whole discussion from anti-oxml activists is that MS won’t enable ODF to be set as the default format of Office 2007. Which is amusing because it seems it would take 3 or 4 years at least to make a full enough implementation to use it as the default format which should be a lossless format and not a format that might not fauithfully represent the document.

    (And 3-4 years might only be a light estimate as it has taken OpenOffice already wel over two years to make an incomplete implementation where they started with a big headstart of using the ODF formats even before they were standardized.)

  19. Daniel says:

    Hi John, I didn’t know that anybody, whether for or against ODF or OOXML, had said that the reason MS won’t allow ODF to be set as the default format has anything to do with fidelity.  RTF can be set as the default format without any problem, and that’s definitely not full fidelity.  

    Rather, the decision seems to have something to do with whether there are easy APIs available that allow you to add a format to the list for default Save format.  I may have misunderstood this, but on the converter developers’ blog it seems like there might indeed be an old C-based API that would permit developers to access the Save-As menu (and I’m fairly sure that developers were able to add formats to the Save-As menu for versions of Office previous to 2007).  The converter developers stated that using the old API would be too time intensive to implement given their skill sets.  There could well be something I don’t understand, but to me it seems like not enabling a .NET API in Office 2007 for the easy addition of default formats is kinda anti-consumer, and that it probably wouldn’t be a difficult thing to do.  For me, even if I do wind up eventually using MS’s file format most often, I want it to be because I choose to, not because Microsoft made it really difficult for me to do otherwise.  (I guess I’m stubborn like that!)  It’s hard for me as a non-developer to really know whether I’m being told the truth about a lot of the details about both file formats (and I don’t doubt that there’s a lot of disinformation coming from both sides), but this particular choice by Microsoft seems– if not dishonest– at least somewhat anti-competitive.  

    One thing I am wondering, for those who might know the answer either at Microsoft or elsewhere; if I did understand the converter developers correctly in that there’s an old C API  that might allow better integration (the link’s here: http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/blog/index.php?2006/09/04/4-c-xslt-why-did-we-choose-them )– would it be possible to use their .NET converter code in conjunction with that C API in order to have a more integrated default Save-As function?  If so, how hard would that be?  I know neither .NET or C, so I have no idea whether this is something that would be feasible, but I do know that if MS were to facilitate it, it would probably win some favor in the eyes of a lot of people.

  20. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    Wow, looks like I’ve been missing out on a great discussion. I was out of town since last Wednesday, so I’m sorry for not replying sooner.

    While I won’t attempt to reply to everything, let me point out a couple of things:

    1. The reason you can’t show the "save as ODF" functionality directly in the save as dialog is that in Word the converter interface uses RTF as the communication format. The team building the translator wanted to go from ODF to OpenXML, not to RTF. There are a number of reasons for this, including simplicity as well as reuse. I think we can all agree that a tool that can go from ODF to OpenXML and back is super powerful for a number of different uses.

    So, they couldn’t use the existing converter technology and instead had to build it as a seperate add-in that automated Word to save as OpenXML, and then take that output and transform it into ODF.

    Since it couldn’t be integrated into the save as menu, they decided to push it up one level in the UI and expose it on the file menu as its own item. If folks have suggestions for better locations, I’m sure the dev team would love the feedback though.

    2. Many people seem to be under the mistaken impression that ODF was already around before OpenXML. In reality, they were both developed in parallel and ODF just happened to become a standard first. Check out this post for more on the history of the two formats: http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2007/01/25/office-xml-formats-1998-2006.aspx

    I totally understand that if people are not aware of this, then it would look like we actively made a decision to ignore ODF and build out own format instead. That’s not really true though. We had already been working on our format, and when ODF came along it was clear that they had different design goals than we did. You don’t have to dig too deep to see obvious examples of this. The fact that they thought it was OK to call version 1.0 complete without any definition for Spreadsheet formulas is a great example. For the Excel team, they know that formulas are one of the key reasons their customers use the product.

    -Brian

  21. Daniel says:

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the reply and the explanation.  I hadn’t realized that translations were done via RTF.  But is that how it works for Microsoft’s add-in to Word 2003 to enable first class OOXML integration there?  (My initial thinking is that it’s probably not how it’s done.)  If it’s not, I’m suggesting that MS could make available to outside developers the same APIs which Microsoft used to add in their own formats.  Saying "since it couldn’t be integrated into the save as menu" just doesn’t feel right to me, because it’s a choice on MS’s part whether or not to allow this, and I don’t think it’s something that would take a whole lot of resources on MS’s part to change if the company wanted to.  

    I believe that MS probably has been subject to unfair misunderstandings about OOXML, and in many cases  people probably ascribe ill will to MS’s actions where there isn’t any– probably sometimes this due to ignorance, probably sometimes it’s out of distrust of Microsoft due to past experience, and probably sometimes it is due to other companies’ commercial interests.  But from my perspective, it is hard to look past this particular issue to go on to discuss more technical issues, because on a psychological level– from my perspective as a somewhat tech-savvy but non-developer customer– it seems obvious that this is willfully anti-competitive.  I don’t even care whether some of MS’s competitors are also being unfair– I’m sure some of them are– but as an end user, what I see from MS is the company not playing nicely with others.  I think it would be much easier to go on to discuss various technical merits– and much easier for me to feel comfortable using OOXML– if I felt that MS was willing to provide a level playing field to both formats.  

  22. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Yup, the add-in that you install is essentially a super slimmed down version of Word 2007 that only knows how to do two things: 1) Open an OpenXML file and Save it as RTF 2) Open an RTF file and save it as OpenXML

    That’s why it’s able to show up on the drop-down list.

    We had looked into exposing OpenXML as another option in the converter interface, but it was a ton of work, and all the existing converters were just using RTF. It’s something we could still look at doing in future versions of the product, but would be too difficult to change in the existing product base.

    I totally understand why this could look to you like we’re being anti-competitive and I’m sorry if we haven’t done a good enough job of explaining why things are the way they are. We’ve done a lot of work to help get this converter project off the ground. If we could have it show up on the save as drop-down list, we would do that. Unfortunately it’s not technically possible without some major changes to the existing versions of Office.

    -Brian

  23. Rune says:

    Ian Easson,

    "What question are you talking about?"

    let me try again:

    An insult is an insult whether true or not. So the question is who did you direct the insult at?

    "Do you think you have been insulted?"

    I don’t feal insulted. I try to make Brian aware of the inflamatory nature of some of the words he use. an impossible task it would seam…

    "What definition are you talking about?"

    Brian wrote:

    "Having a bias towards ODF (like Wu MingShi) does not put you into this category of zealotry. If, however, you are someone who thinks OpenXML should be blocked at ISO at all costs, then that triggers a red flag for me"

    "No, Rune, he wrote that the reason is that ODF won’t work for the most users of Microsoft Office.  (In case you can’t figure out why, I’ll tell you:  use of ODF would cause Office users to lose much of their functionality, because ODF can’t express it faithfully.)"

    What specific functionality does OpenXML offer (and ODF doesn’t) which most (more than 50%) of MS office users use/need?

    "…It can do this approximately — we can argue whether it’s 90% accurate or 98%, but is definitly not 100%)"

    true, you can only have 100% conversion if you have a 1 to 1 mapping (more or less), Then I assume OpenXML a .doc + new extensions  in an XML wrapping..

    "Answer:  ODF must be enhanced until it is functionally equivalent to OOXML."

    So it is possible to improve ODF to make it equivalent in functionally to OpenXML.

    Then what is OpenXML needed for?

  24. Daniel says:

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the quick reply and for addressing my questions; very interesting– I hadn’t known that about the add-in’s mechanism.

    I do hope that MS is putting in some resources in order to implement these changes in the future– I think it will go a long way in the "good will" department.

  25. hAl says:

    [quote]So it is possible to improve ODF to make it equivalent in functionally to OpenXML.[/quote]

    Mayby but you would have to get such changes trough OASIS and I do not see them adding in anything for backwards compatibility for instance. On the first meeting ever by the OASIS TC they stated that compatibility with the exisiting documents was not important. Of course that would be extrmely important for people and organisations using those existing formats.

    So for stating if it were possible I think you should first try to confirm that OASIS would indeed be willing to adapt their standard to accomodate everything required to get 100% faithfull conversions on existing billions of documents. As the first thing they did when creating ODF was stating the exact opposite it seems unlikely you would get such a commitment.

    Also by making that statement about backwards compatibility with existing document the OASIS TC confirmed at the start of the creation of ODF alreadyh the need for an alternative format that would be able to faithfully represent the functionality in those existing buillions of documents so it seems logical Microsoft would continue to work on such a format (as at that time MS were already busy with their own XML format)

  26. Dave says:

    I got looking at the Save-As drop-down list of filetypes and noticed that one is an HTML format. Selecting that causes the application to add a new button, allowing the display title displayed for the HTML document to be changed.

    That seems to be outside of the RTF conversion process and seems to be a spur off the main conversion menu track.

    Creating a new requester (form?) to prompt for more information indicates that execution of an arbitrary code stream is possible. If so, it must be possible to place any Save-As method in the menu.

    One might argue the conversion process only feeds RTF as part of the convertor, but the separate menu bar add-in for ODF does not depend on that and could bit-bucket all the RTF it might be fed or just ignore the feed completey while doing exactly what it does now.

    One might also argue that it is not possible to do arbitrary execution, but that is an implementation limitation, not a prohibition due to significant complexity in dong so.

  27. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    Dave,

    The save as HTML is built in as a native file type (we added it back in Office 2000). It was a huge development effort (bigger than just about any other feature we’ve added since), and at one point we’d even thought about making HTML the default format for Office. That’s why there are so many CSS extensions in our HTML output. We wanted to preserve all the features so folks could use it as a default if they wanted to.

    This was actually an interesting debate. Some folks thought we should make the HTML pure, which would have meant it couldn’t be the default, but it would be easier for HTML developers to leverage. Other folks thought we should fully extend it so that it roundtripped all functionality, which would mean a more complex and harder to work with HTML. In the end we went with the later, but later on we added a second option called "filtered HTML" which is a hybrid of the two.

    -Brian

  28. Here are a few interesting links I came across this week: Open XML in Science and Nature – Murray Sargent

  29. It&#39;s been quite a year for those who have been blogging about the Open XML file formats. Here&#39;s

  30. This is very cool. It looks like the OASIS committee is looking at coming on board to help out with the

  31. Doug Mahugh says:

    Open XML and XSLT with XMLSpy. Alex Falk has a great post on how to create a simple XSLT that transforms

  32. Open XML and XSLT with XMLSpy. Alex Falk has a great post on how to create a simple XSLT that transforms