As a member of my country's national standards body committee on electronic data processing, I lately spend considerable time deliberating what our position should be in the upcoming Office Open XML ISO Ballot Resolution Meeting in Geneva. My biggest objection concerns large parts of the standard that are proposed to live in an Annex containing normative descriptions of deprecated features that will only be used by existing binary documents. The rationale behind this decision is backwards compatibility. My opinion is that this solution is counterproductive for a number of reasons.
The OpenDocument Format ("ODF") shows promise for bringing the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) to the common desktop PC of the future as the native file format for office documents in the next-generation office suites including OpenOffice, StarOffice, KOffice, Workplace, Writely and others. An ODF Plugin for MS Office -- currently under development by the OpenDocument Foundation -- can deliver this promise to the 450 million legacy Windows desktop PCs already in place. Sam Hiser, an officer of the OpenDocument Foundation, will discuss the origins and design objectives of the Foundation's ODF Plugin. He will also discuss the strategic goals of the Foundation's ODF Plugin while showing how the Plugin effort is already influencing the development of the ODF standard itself at OASIS. An audience of general business people and software developers will leave Hiser's presentation with a clear understanding of the ODF Plugin, its context of relevance and development, and how it can alter the landscape for XML.
Although MS Word can generate XML, it should not be considered any kind of a robust XML authoring tool. Instead, its XML features are best for use with other Microsoft Office applications. However, because XML authoring is gaining in popularity, new XML authoring software tools and utilities are coming to market. In this article, Scott Abel looks at using MS Word for XML and takes a closer look at one alternative XML solution from a Microsoft partner that uses Word's familiar interface.