WG4/WG5 Meetings

WG4 meeting, Copenhagen

I’ve just returned last night from a week in Copenhagen, where I attended the SC34 WG4/WG5 meetings that were hosted by Danish Standards.  As usual, it was several days of non-stop document format discussions, in the meetings as well as over breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Carlsbergs.  A typical comment from one of the delegates Wednesday afternoon: “let’s take a break from sitting down and continue this debate standing up for a while.”

Other attendees have posted some thoughts about the meetings already, and I expect we’ll see more discussion of the details on participants’ blogs going forward.  See Alex Brown and Jesper Lund Stocholm for information about some of the topics we discussed, including boolean values, ISO 8601 dates, and other aspects of IS29500 maintenance.

WG4 (IS29500 Maintenance)

The main focus of WG’s work, as always, was processing of DRs (defect reports) that have been submitted by member bodies.  As of the end of the meeting, we had closed 205 of the 284 defect reports that have been submitted to date; watch the WG4 statistics page for an update in the next few days that will reflect the latest status.  The biggest submitter of DRs to date has been the UK, although I see that Japan plans to take the lead soon, according to a comment from WG4 convenor Murata Makoto on Alex Brown’s Flickr stream.

In addition to discussing proposed solutions and closing DRs, we discussed at some length two topics Alex raised in presentations to the group: the intent of IS29500’s division into Transitional and Strict at the BRM last year (including how they’re related and the long-term maintenance implied by this structure), and various approaches to conformance testing for IS29500 (and also IS26300).  We also reviewed the planned schedule for COR1 (the first set of technical corrigenda for IS29500) and AM1 (the first set of amendments).  Project editor Rex Jaeschke is already working on these documents, and WG4 hopes to be ready to approve them on the July 23 conference call, or on a July 30 call if needed.  After that, they’ll proceed to SC34 and JTC1 for balloting.  One other interesting topic we discussed was how we can implement a public email archive for all WG4 correspondence.

I’ll have more to say on all of these topics as we move forward with them in WG4.  For the next few weeks, however, the main focus of WG4’s work will be to get COR1 and AM1 ready for approval and publication, so that the IS29500 standard can be updated to reflect all of the work WG4 has done to date.

WG5 (ODF-OXML Translation)

After WG4 met on June 22-24, WG5 met on June 25.  WG5 is the working group on translation between the ODF and Open XML formats, and the main work item in WG5 right now is a TR (technical report) that will provide guidance on various details of the translation process.

Klaus-Peter Eckert (Fraunhofer FOKUS), the editor of the TR, provided an overview of the current status and outlined some of the scenarios the report is based upon.

Alex Brown presented on conformance and validation, covering the same topics he had covered for WG4 earlier in the week.  We discussed possible collaboration between WG5 members, Fraunhofer FOKUS, and others, to create a community-developed validator that would benefit from the expertise of WG1, WG4, and WG5.  These discussions are ongoing.

I presented a recap of the ODF Plugfest I had attended in The Hague, and explained how members of the OIC TC will be contributing to the plugfest wiki.  We discussed whether a similar wiki-based approach might be appropriate for testing translation scenarios as defined by WG5.  We also went through the schema that OIC TC chair Bart Hanssens has created for managing interoperability test cases, and looked at how that approach might be useful to WG5.  Although WG5 and the OIC TC have different missions – the OIC TC is all about ODF interoperability, whereas WG5 is about ODF-OXML translation – there is quite a bit of conceptual overlap in their work.  We decided that it would be good to keep WG5 informed of developments in the OIC TC going forward, and I’ll be playing that role for WG5.

As usual at these meetings, I got out and took some pictures around town in the evenings.  The fact that it was light out until after 23:00 every evening certainly extended photo-taking hours, and we were fortunate to be in town during the week of the solstice celebration (the witch-burning to which one attendee alluded earlier in the week), as well as the week of a crazy graduation ritual in which truckloads of young Danes in white hats cruise around the city yelling through bullhorns, sounding sirens, drinking beer, and generally carrying on.

celebrating graduation

Comments (3)

  1. Carlos says:

    "In addition to discussing proposed solutions and closing DRs, we discussed at some length two topics …"

    Why don’t you throw the beast ( [D]IS 29500 ) and start from scratch again , trying to get an useful standard ( useful == user oriented ) instead of fix the fixes of the fixes…etc, etc ?

    Just a suggestion.

  2. hAl says:

    Is it likely that MS Office 2010 will include these correcctions andamendsments if agreed upon in august ?

  3. dmahugh says:


    Actually, the process of reaching agreement on COR1/AM1 will take longer than that.  There’s a 3-month SC34 ballot, and then a 2-month JTC1 ballot, and there may be some other delays for addressing comments and so on.  But as a general concept, yes we’re going to try to support these changes ASAP in our implementation.  The biggest variable is simply how soon the changes will be in final approved form, and that process will take a while.  I’ll get more specific after we know more about the timing.