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ISO OOXML article on Arstechnica

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  • User profile image
    giovanni

    I would be curious to know what is the Microsoft official repsonse to this article: http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/04/iso-ooxml-convener-microsofts-format-heading-for-failure.ars?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss.

     

    Quite frankly I am a little disappointed that Microsoft is taking so long to move to the strict version of the ISO OOXML. The format has lots of potential, but it seems that most of the effort of Office 2010 went in other features. Sure, these are important too, but in my opinion, with governemtns pushing for open standards and the like, a strict ISO OOXML implementation would be the most important feature of all.

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    Two things:

     

    1. If you expect an official Microsoft response here, you're on the wrong forum. Either check the www.microsoft.com front page or the presspass site.

     

    2. Welcome to the wonderful world of standards. The strict standard was "finalized" (as it is really not) well after Office 2010 entered the no-more-features stage, there *may* probably be time for the next version of Office to use the strict one if they finalize it this year (*may*). And then, in any case, Office would have to support all previous versions as well.

     

    I think people have a general misunderstanding about the reasons for the creation of the OOXML format (regardless of its weird standardization). It was never meant to be something that would be of use to competing office packages, but rather enabling a very important range of scenarios on the server where, before Office 2003, you had to instantiate COM DLLs to perform document manipulation. Now it's all XML, an XSL transform is the only thing you need to do mass priniting of tax or salary stubs. There's a whole industry that is doing backflips by joy about having this formats.

  • User profile image
    turrican

    PaoloM said:

    Two things:

     

    1. If you expect an official Microsoft response here, you're on the wrong forum. Either check the www.microsoft.com front page or the presspass site.

     

    2. Welcome to the wonderful world of standards. The strict standard was "finalized" (as it is really not) well after Office 2010 entered the no-more-features stage, there *may* probably be time for the next version of Office to use the strict one if they finalize it this year (*may*). And then, in any case, Office would have to support all previous versions as well.

     

    I think people have a general misunderstanding about the reasons for the creation of the OOXML format (regardless of its weird standardization). It was never meant to be something that would be of use to competing office packages, but rather enabling a very important range of scenarios on the server where, before Office 2003, you had to instantiate COM DLLs to perform document manipulation. Now it's all XML, an XSL transform is the only thing you need to do mass priniting of tax or salary stubs. There's a whole industry that is doing backflips by joy about having this formats.

    I never looked at it in that light. Thank you for a very informative reply. ( eventhough I am not the OP ) hehhe...

  • User profile image
    giovanni

    PaoloM said:

    Two things:

     

    1. If you expect an official Microsoft response here, you're on the wrong forum. Either check the www.microsoft.com front page or the presspass site.

     

    2. Welcome to the wonderful world of standards. The strict standard was "finalized" (as it is really not) well after Office 2010 entered the no-more-features stage, there *may* probably be time for the next version of Office to use the strict one if they finalize it this year (*may*). And then, in any case, Office would have to support all previous versions as well.

     

    I think people have a general misunderstanding about the reasons for the creation of the OOXML format (regardless of its weird standardization). It was never meant to be something that would be of use to competing office packages, but rather enabling a very important range of scenarios on the server where, before Office 2003, you had to instantiate COM DLLs to perform document manipulation. Now it's all XML, an XSL transform is the only thing you need to do mass priniting of tax or salary stubs. There's a whole industry that is doing backflips by joy about having this formats.

    Well, I am not expecting to read a Microsoft response here, but sometimes you have Microsoft employees replying on this forum (Doug Mahugh has a few posts on C9) or someone pointing you to the right page on microsoft.com. Besides, this is probably a good forum to discuss these responses.

     

    Yes, the world of standards is fascinating and, believe me, I am not one who is a supporter of standard bodies. I do see your point about timing. Not having worked at Microsoft I am not fully aware of the timing issues, although my previous experiences working in very large companies should have taught me otherwise Smiley This is exactly the kind of answers I am curious to know.

     

    I don't fully agree with your conclusion though. I never expected OOXML to become the native file format of competing office packages and I think that would be wrong for a number of reasons. However, interpolability is becoming increasingly important and I see the need for a faster transition to newer standards. Not only quite a few people today use OpenOffice, but lots of other programs read and write doc(x), xls(x), and other office files (many more than the server scenarios you mention). In our office, for example, we produce a great number of docs, spec sheets, catalogs, instructions that are printed or archived as PDFs. Most of the time, the content comes from Office apps and is then imported into InDesign, Illustrator, FrameMaker, etc (when it comes to print material, Adobe with its ubiquitous PDF format is still the de facto standard, although I would like that to change for an XML based format like project Mars or XPS for the same reasons you mention above). The longer it takes to the Office team to implement a "final" version of OOXML, the longer it will take for ISVs (most notably Adobe) to implement solutions that work seamlessly with that format (how many times have I ranted that it is impossible to find a program that imports and exports DrawingML from Illustrator to Word?).

     

    The longer it takes for the Office team to implement some "final" form of OOXML, the longer we will still have a mess of old .doc, transitional .docx and strict .docx formats around and that does not help a smooth flow of information. This is just my personal opinion based on my everyday experience, but as an avid office user who manages a small office, that is what I would like to be changed in the short term.

     

    Edit: corrected a few typos

  • User profile image
    fknight

    PaoloM said:

    Two things:

     

    1. If you expect an official Microsoft response here, you're on the wrong forum. Either check the www.microsoft.com front page or the presspass site.

     

    2. Welcome to the wonderful world of standards. The strict standard was "finalized" (as it is really not) well after Office 2010 entered the no-more-features stage, there *may* probably be time for the next version of Office to use the strict one if they finalize it this year (*may*). And then, in any case, Office would have to support all previous versions as well.

     

    I think people have a general misunderstanding about the reasons for the creation of the OOXML format (regardless of its weird standardization). It was never meant to be something that would be of use to competing office packages, but rather enabling a very important range of scenarios on the server where, before Office 2003, you had to instantiate COM DLLs to perform document manipulation. Now it's all XML, an XSL transform is the only thing you need to do mass priniting of tax or salary stubs. There's a whole industry that is doing backflips by joy about having this formats.

    Even if OOXML wasn't meant to be something that would be of use to competing office packages, wouldn't the same problems apply to the exact business line applications that you mention that try to consume Microsoft Office data?

     

    Any given company may not be trying to create a competitor to Microsoft Office, but they certainly are trying to do what you mention -- mass printing tax or salary stubs, transforming Word Documents or Excel Documents into information that can be consumed by inventory systems, project management systems, etc -- how would these situations differ from a competing office suite consuming Office documents? It's all third party software trying to consume MS Office data -- and right now, those in-house corporate developers have to deal with the multiple different kinds of OOXML instead of being able to code to the standard.

     

     

     

  • User profile image
    giovanni
  • User profile image
    giovanni

    fknight said:
    PaoloM said:
    *snip*

    Even if OOXML wasn't meant to be something that would be of use to competing office packages, wouldn't the same problems apply to the exact business line applications that you mention that try to consume Microsoft Office data?

     

    Any given company may not be trying to create a competitor to Microsoft Office, but they certainly are trying to do what you mention -- mass printing tax or salary stubs, transforming Word Documents or Excel Documents into information that can be consumed by inventory systems, project management systems, etc -- how would these situations differ from a competing office suite consuming Office documents? It's all third party software trying to consume MS Office data -- and right now, those in-house corporate developers have to deal with the multiple different kinds of OOXML instead of being able to code to the standard.

     

     

     

    I think that in Paolo's scenario, the presence of legacy elements (VML or emf figures for example) which define the main difference between the transitional and strict versions of OOXML, would matter very little.

     

    However, if the only reason Microsoft created OOXML is to easily use XSL transforms and not interpolability, what is the point of submitting the file format to an international standard body?

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