Microsoft stands firm on OOXML standardization

The good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from

Following criticism from the Open Source Industry Association (OSIA) over its ambition to have the Office Open XML (Open XML or OOXML) format accepted as an international (ISO) standard, Microsoft's group product manager for Microsoft Office, Gray Knowlton, spoke with Computerworld about why the world needs two standard document formats.

What advantages does OOXML have over Open Document Format (ODF) that warrant its inclusion as an ISO standard?

Open XML and ODF are designed with different goals in mind. Among its goals, Open XML is designed to carry forward the information stored within billions of documents created in the past. Open XML provides the best opportunity to do so. Open XML includes specifications for features like spreadsheet formulas to maintain maximum compatibility. ODF, favouring a simpler implementation, chose to omit spreadsheet formulas in the standard submitted to ISO. Open XML also includes capability commonly referred to as "custom-defined schema support", a unique capability designed to allow implementers to embed information within documents using their own XML vocabularies, instead of requiring translation into the document format markup language. This is particularly advantageous when incorporating information into documents that originate from line-of-business applications.

This week Brazil and Indian technical committees have publicly voiced concerns about OOXML. One of the objections was that Open XML was not fully compatible with ODF. Are these criticisms valid?

Open XML and ODF are not required to be compatible. In fact, this is the purpose of having two standards. Translation projects, however, have been undertaken to help move documents between Open XML and ODF when this is necessary. These translation tools are freely available (as well as the source code for them) today. Open XML and ODF differ in their fundamental approach to XML markup. Open XML word processing documents, for example use a non-mixed content model designed for optimum application performance. ODF opts for a more verbose and more human-readable XML markup. This can be said for many document formats and XML-based markup languages. As PDF and ODF are fundamentally incompatible, and XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) and DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) are also incompatible, it is very common for different document formats and markup languages to have differing design objectives and implementations.

If Microsoft wants to get OOXML approved as an ISO standard what progress has it made to support the existing ODF standard in its products? Does Microsoft plan to support ODF in future products?

ODF is supported in Microsoft Office via the [ODF] translator. This is an open source project funded by Microsoft, and it is already available today. [See http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/]

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rodney Gedda

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?