Microsoft ODF and Cross-Platform RIAs

Summary:Is Ray Ozzie already starting to change the direction of the ship? On Thursday Microsoft announced that they would begin support third party tools which will allow users of Microsoft Office to create and view ODF files. Let's step back for a moment and analyze this with the "sunglasses of RIA" (We have to use sunglasses because the future is bright).

Is Ray Ozzie already starting to change the direction of the ship? On Thursday Microsoft announced that they would begin support third party tools which will allow users of Microsoft Office to create and view ODF files. Let's step back for a moment and analyze this with the "sunglasses of RIA" (We have to use sunglasses because the future is bright). One of the things that has helped the web grow so quickly and organically is the plethora of relatively open standards. RSS, HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript - the building blocks of the web are all very open and very accessible. This has kept any one company from "owning" the web (though at times Microsoft has tried) and helped foster a lot of innovation.

With the announcement that Microsoft is going to be working to provide some support (via third parties) to ODF we're seeing the same openness of the web translate into the desktop. As readers here know, I think the desktop as an application platform is an old model that won't survive the end of the decade in its current form. But Microsoft's Office suite is something that is still very entrenched in corporate America. The decision to incorporate some level of ODF into Office is a huge boon for RIA developers.

As our web applications start to look like desktop applications, we need to have the same kind of openness for the desktop that we have for the web. The tools that business users are working with every day can't be replaced overnight, but if you make sure that they can access their data - and they don't see any change in how their documents look - then you will be able to focus on the things that RIAs do better: cross-platform, web accessible, ubiquitous and tiny. Bring the openness of the web into the office and RIAs will be in a position to take advantage of it.

Topics: Microsoft

About

Ryan Stewart holds an economics degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is now a Rich Internet Application developer and industry analyst. After graduating from Penn, he spent two years developing applications for the Wharton School and pushing the idea of the web as a platform for learning. Ryan now lives in Seattle with his wife... Full Bio

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