Microsoft offers view into ODF 1.1, Open XML implementations for Office 2007 SP2

Microsoft offers view into ODF 1.1, Open XML implementations for Office 2007 SP2

Summary: Microsoft seems to be in the spirit of giving this holiday season.On Tuesday, the company released details about its implementation of Open Document Format 1.

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Microsoft seems to be in the spirit of giving this holiday season.

On Tuesday, the company released details about its implementation of Open Document Format 1.1 -- and Open XML -- for its forthcoming Office 2007 Service Pack 2, due early next year.

More specifically, the Redmond, Wash. software company has shed more light on its implementation decisions -- and variances on those decisions -- to assist in the integration process and provide to third party developers more information about additional data that is written into files. This information should  allow developers to make their applications -- proprietary and open source -- more interoperable with Office 2007.  The ODF 1.1 notes are available now.  Information about Microsoft's Open XML (ECMA 376) will be available within weeks, Microsoft promises.

 "This type of information enables developers to see which direction a vendor is taking and make informed decisions about their own efforts to interoperate, " according to a Microsoft statement about the documentation's release.

And this is what it says about the release of additional information written into files. "File format standards typically allow additional application-specific information (such as certain user customizations) to be written to file," Microsoft said. "By providing this information vendors allow developers to correctly interpret the additional data."

It's Redmond's latest gesture at providing more transparency and interoperatibility, as part of its sweeping Document Interoperability Initiative, announced last March just before the ISO anointed Microsoft's controversial Open XML  as a standard.

Earlier this month, Microsoft released a viewer and translator designed to improve interoperability between OOXML documents and applications such as OpenOffice and Firefox. 

Summing up these efforts are mere PR stunts for regulators would be a mistake, said one Microsoft platform executive at a dinner meeting recently.

Robert W Duffner, a former IBMer who nows serves as a senior director of platform strategy for Microsoft, emphasized that the last batch of goodies included a viewer that allows uses to view OOXML-based Microsoft Office documents from a web browser like Firefox or OpenOffice desktop -- without having Office installed.  To him, it proves that Microsoft is opening up for real. 

Developers have complained for years that Windows and Office are too closed and that the secret sauce to integration --the so-called  hidden APIs -- never made it to documentation. More recently, ODF backers claimed that Microsoft's OOXML was too flawed to be conferred the status of a standard, and poorly documented.

We shall soon see if the new documentation is of any value to the open source world.

Topics: Software Development, Collaboration, Emerging Tech, Microsoft, Software

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3 comments
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  • The corpse stirrith

    But it is still... "a dead format walking"........

    http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS8722482021.html

    OOXML -- dead format walking?
    May 28, 2008

    Microsoft's controversial OOXML document format is not going anywhere, observes Jason Brooks in a blog posting at eWEEK. Brooks points to discrepancies between the ISO-approved version of the format and that used in Office 2007 in suggesting that OOXML hardly measures up with ODF (Open Document Format).

    http://blogs.eweek.com/brooks/content/office/microsoft_ooxml_dead_format_walking.html

    Friday, May 23, 2008 4:54 PM/EST
    Microsoft OOXML: Dead Format Walking

    When Microsoft, some time in the first half of 2009, makes good on its recent pledge to roll full support for the Open Document format into a second service pack for Office 2007, my reaction will be, "It's about time."

    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/05/25/ooxml-walks-green-mile/

    http://www.michaeldolan.com/1199

    Too little, too late, methinks.
    Ole Man
  • Viewers Useless Without MS Products

    "Robert W Duffner, a former IBMer who nows serves as a senior director of platform strategy for Microsoft, emphasized that the last batch of goodies included a viewer that allows uses [sic] to view OOXML-based Microsoft Office documents from a web browser like Firefox or OpenOffice desktop ??? without having Office installed."

    MS has has these kinds of viewers (though not browser plug-ins) since Office 97. These viewers are always "Windows only" so I don't really see the _opening up_ that Duffner is talking about.

    It really looks like business as usual, except for the stuff that the EU mandated to be released in their anti-trust case.

    p.s. You can get nearly the same thing as the proposed browser plug-in by using Google's Toolbar and setting it to open these files in Google Docs.
    daengbo
  • XML Xmas present

    Give us the source code for the viewer with a GNU license for Xmas. For the new year, put everything XML under the GNU license, and then we can start calling it Open XML.
    softwareFlunky