The crazy world of Open XML

With the ballot resolution later this month, the temperature is high around the issues on Open XML.  On our side we believe that Open XML is solving a different problem to ODF and so we supported it through fast track.  IBM and others have decided to see this as a "war on standards" - mad because multiple standards in an area is the norm - look at picture formats for example.  Can't we all coexist?

A commenter on Brian's blog noted though that IBM itself is starting to support Open XML in some products.  See the full article about this on Doug's blog.  More on IBM support for Open XML in this Computerworld article.  Also now we see Google support for Open XML where they render an Open XML in their own renderer.

In the UK we have recently published a series of interesting stories from customers who are implementing Open XML and who talk about the benefits to them in doing so:


Elegant resorts


Park Group

Paul Smith

If you have to pick one, I'd recommend the QinetiQ story.  A very interesting customer - the ex DERA guys who have 10,000 scientists working on all manner of cutting edge defence technologies for the MOD and other governments.  They have to store designs for 30 years or more in some cases so document formats are a big issue for them.  They are also interested in seeing how they can get more value from meta data and policies on documents - as delivered by Open XML.  One very interesting area they are thinking about is how to break documents into component content blocks and tagging them individually, by author or via a corporate project taxonomy.  As one of the largest consumers of third party research feeds, QQ might even be able to tag external content in this way, streaming the latest research to staff without needing them to read the whole journal if say there is one page in the middle that is relevant.

This is the best Open XML solution thinking I have come across to date.  Personally I'm not that into the religious debates - no doubt I'll be flamed on this post by the slashdotters. I'm more interested in what customers are saying and doing and taking my lead from that.  Maybe with wider industry support emerging, we as an industry are finally moving past the vitriol and back to delivering to our customers.

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