On March 26th, OASIS announced to the ODF TC that they had officially submitted ODF 1.2 to ISO/IEC JTC1 as a candidate international standard. This is great news for the office application community and an important milestone for the format.
ODF 1.2 is entering the ISO system using the PAS process, which allows extant non-ISO standards to become ISO-certified more quickly. It’s the same process which was used by ODF 1.1 1.0 (ISO/IEC 26300) and very similar to the Fast Track process used for Open XML (ISO/IEC 29500). It is fast in standardization terms, but still somewhat lengthy – after a two month grace period for National Bodies to translate it into their local languages, there follows a three month ballot during which NBs may vote and submit comments. If necessary, a Ballot Resolution Meeting may be called to discuss and resolve these comments. As Rob Weir mentioned in his blog post, it’s unwise to predict the speed of standards development, but it’s probably probable we will see the ballot close in Q4 this year.
In 2009, Microsoft made a commitment to support new ISO versions of ODF within nine months of final publication. When we built Office 2013, we made the decision to include support for ODF 1.2 as published by OASIS because there are important improvements over ODF 1.1, such as the specification of formulas for spreadsheets early, to avoid the possibility of having to add a new file format in a service pack. We’re therefore fully supportive of the ISO submission, and as a member of the ODF TC I’ve been working to help produce the necessary paperwork. After some months of preparation, it’s great to see the OASIS standard finally make its way to ISO, and I’m pleased that we could play a small part in that process.
No rest for the wicked, though, and this means that the focus of the OASIS ODF TC now shifts towards ODF 1.3. Onwards and upwards!