Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th Mar 2007 23:08 UTC
Microsoft Microsoft Office program manager Brian Jones, whose work has centered around the Open XML document format, now says the so-called format war with OpenDocument is officially over. The winner, he says, is both. Jones made the statement in a blog post over the weekend following the release by Novell of an Open XML translator for OpenOffice. The plug-in enables the free, open source productivity suite to open documents created in the Microsoft format, as well as saving OpenDocument files into Open XML.
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RE[6]: because they lost...
by nberardi on Wed 7th Mar 2007 17:05 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: because they lost..."
nberardi
Member since:
2005-07-10

g2devi - You have it backwards. What segedunum is suggesting is good engineering (getting rid of special cases) and the MS approach is defeatism (adding hacks).

And yet Microsoft Office is the only product that still supports legacy documents back 16+ years.

Documents don't magically get upgraded when a new format/specification comes out. So there is always going to have to be support for legacy documents. Because there are still people cranking out documents from Windows 98, I think the last study I saw had Windows 98 still at 5% market share.

And it is great if you can mimic the functionality of an old document in the new ODF, but there are things that cannot be mimiced. So to support this you have to create an overly gernerilized specification or add special cases. Both have their draw backs, but there is less of a chance a special case is going to contain a bug. But special cases to provide bloat.

Either way OOo isn't currently ready to convert some of the more complex legacy documents to be 100% the same as they were in their original format. And I am not just talking about Microsoft Office documents.

IBM could easily release the Lotus 123, WordPerfect, and other document format specifications, but I have heard no word of them doing that for OOo. So if a big supporter of ODF doesn't do this to make it easier for OOo to convert the legacy documents to ODF, what are the chances a proponent of ODF is going to do that.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: because they lost...
by g2devi on Wed 7th Mar 2007 18:04 in reply to "RE[6]: because they lost..."
g2devi Member since:
2005-07-09

> And it is great if you can mimic the functionality of
> an old document in the new ODF, but there are things
> that cannot be mimiced.

Such as....? If you add a tag "work like word processor X" without documenting what that functionality is, it doesn't magically add support. I've already stated how two problems (the Y2K bug compatibility and legacy table styles issue) could be handled with the existing ODF standard without kludges. If there are some table styles that cannot be mimicked (I don't know of any), then what's wrong with adding the functionality to ODF? After all, if that functionality was needed before, it could be needed again in some other context.

> Either way OOo isn't currently ready to convert some
> of the more complex legacy documents to be 100% the
> same as they were in their original format.

For legal documents PDF is the best solution, not DOC or OOXML or ODF. PDF will look the same no matter what platform you are on or viewer you're using (DOC doesn't look *exactly* the same in all versions of MS Word, so I don't expect OOXML to be any different), and using PDF (especially image PDF) gives you a lot more assurance that changes have not been made. But if your format must be editable, then the strategy of supporting Word 97 DOC (backed by PDF, just in case) for legacy documents and ODF for new documents would give you the best universal solution. Granted, Word 97 DOC isn't the best format out there for legacy data, but it's well supported on most platforms and since it's not a moving target, the specs for it could eventually be created so that it would be readable 1000 years from now. (i.e. the whole reason forward looking governments want to use open standards, besides the vendor lockin angle).

Reply Parent Score: 3