Back from vacation with some good Open XML news

Hey folks, sorry for not posting in awhile. I was initially going to be on a two week vacation (starting June 15th), but some stuff came up with work where I had to fly out to Singapore and Japan for the first week of my planned time off. My wife met me out in Tokyo though and we were able to spend much of last week touring around Japan which was great. We were hoping to head down to Okinawa where I’d gone to high school, but we instead stayed on Honshu.

While I’m still in vacation mode… I did want to take some time to point out a couple items:

  • British Library presentation on Open XML – Adam Farquhar of the British Library has a great presentation talking about the importance of Open XML and why the British Library cares about it for long term archival of documents. Both the British Library as well as the US Library of Congress played a key role in the Open XML standardization at Ecma. They brought forward key issues that were important to the Library and Archival community. In the presentation, Adam talks about what some of the problems were in the old world of proprietary binary document formats, and why Open XML is so important.

  • More formats proposed for Massachusetts – The commonwealth of Massachusetts is currently reviewing a proposal to add support for ODF 1.1; Open XML 1.0; XPath v 2.0; and WS-I Basic Security Profile v 1.0. It’s great to see that they are continuing to review and evolve their document format policies.

  • OpenXML workflow library – Wouter has a post talking about a new library available up on CodePlex for workflow activities on OpenXML documents. Very cool! It allows you to do common tasks in document workflow such as signing; validating; setting properties; and cleaning the document. Looks like CTP 1 is now available.

  • Denmark policy supports both ODF and Open XML – Jason has provided a translation of a press release from Denmark where they talk about the value of both ODF and OpenXML as standards. As Jason describes, Denmark is really a leader in the area of standards, and it’s great to see the positive results of their studies.

  • Rick Jelliffe enjoying the spin – As I’m sure anyone following the Open XML; ISO; and ODF discussions has noticed there is serious spin going on all over. The great thing about Rick is that he’s able to see through most of this and realize that the community is far better off with OpenXML as a standard maintained in the standards community rather than something solely owned by Microsoft. That was the feedback we had initially received from groups like the EU which motivated us to submit the specs to Ecma in the first place (“Microsoft should consider the merits of submitting XML formats to an international standards body of their choice”).

  • Standardization helps the community – Jason has a great post where he talks further about the fact that OpenXML going through ISO is a step that helps ensure the long term availability of the specification. It’s really a matter of stewardship. Microsoft no longer owns the formats, they are owned by Ecma. Now that Ecma has submitted the specs to the ISO, we have the change for the ISO to ensure that availability and stability of the standard going forward.

  • Open XML on Channel 9Doug, Art, Kevin, and I sat down with Charles to discuss the Open XML APIs and the formats in general before I left for vacation. It looks like part 1 of that discussion is now up on Channel 9, take a look.

Comments (5)

  1. Wesley Parish says:

    Would you have any comments on the desireability of both High-Density DVD replacement formats?  In the light of your support for Denmark’s support of both the XML-based file formats ODF and ECMA 376?

  2. says:

    I don’t really follow that too much. I don’t see why there should ever be a government mandate for one over the other. Also if either sides want to take their formats through standardization, that would probably be a good thing. Have either formats gone through standardization yet?


  3. GKS says:

    Sun has released the ODF plugin for MSOffice 2000, XP and 2003. With this one can open and save files in ODF from within MSOffice.  You should download and try it out.

  4. Dave S. says:

    The DoD has been reasonably picky when it comes to data delivery formats. They specify exactly which one they wanted their data delivered on as well as the organization of the data on the media. Also, for example, they dislike paper labels on CD/DVD deliverables becuase on higher speed drives the paper’s tendancy to buckle causes too much vibration and can peel loose and do damage.

    I like to think of it more as a customer mandate, not a government one.

    For the moment the data I have on 5.25 Single sided DEC Rainbow formated floppies* is in some trouble. So, I’m in the primary format/subformats supported camp.


  5. Dave S. says:

    The U.S. DoD is quite particular about both media and format and about the metadata and file organization.

    They really have no desire to buy a huge number of interface devices every time a new medium is introduced in the marketplace or to develop software to cope with a change in format or organization.