Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Jul 2007 18:06 UTC, submitted by Flatline
Features, Office Under the name Sun ODF Plug-in for Microsoft Office, Sun has released its import/export filter for the OpenDocument format, which the ISO has recognized as a standard, for versions 2000, XP, and 2003 of Microsoft's Office suite; the plug-in can be downloaded via our software repository. The extension allows users of MS Office to read and create text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in the free OpenOffice suite and its commercial version called StarOffice.
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RE: fake hope
by bedo on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:54 UTC
bedo
Member since:
2006-01-03

ok, so I tried the plugin using word 2002.

it works for simple documents who has simple formating such as bunch of paragraphs and little alignment.

it fails miserably on a document with couple tables. nothing fancy, just two tables. It does not only fail, it actually tells me that I'll lose some formating if I use ODT. But, when I click YES. do the conversion regardless; it saves nothing, there's no file written to the disk. Even though I just clicked yes and instructed the plugin to do the conversion. it seems like a bug in the plugin causing it to choke on a document with two tables.

Why fake hope:
because now proponents of MS office can say; hey people can use MS office, and pick whatever format they like, including ODT if they wish, using the plugin. Which is not true, ODT plugin does not work for real word documents; it only works on simple documents with as little format as RTF documnets. Defying the purpose of using a powerful word processor. If I can only use simple format such as RTF with the ODT plugin. I'd rather use RTF an editor instead.


Why useless:
because as I mentioned earlier, from my recent experience with the plugin. the plugin only works with simple documents, so it's useless, because I'll just use an RTF editor. Why bother with a plugin.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: fake hope
by MollyC on Tue 10th Jul 2007 23:42 in reply to "RE: fake hope"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

I think that the Microsoft-sponsored ODF plungin will be better for the following reason:

The Microsoft-sponsored plugin converts between ODF and OOXML, which are both publicly spec'ed. So when loading an ODF document in Word, the plugin converts ODF to OOXML and feeds Word the OOXML. When using Word to save an ODF file, Word saves OOXML and the converter converts it to ODF. (This works with Word 2k7, and earlier versions of Word that have the OOXML plugin installed.) Theoretically, this should result in "perfect" conversion (different featuresets notwithstanding), since OOXML and ODF are publicly spec'ed. In practice it won't be perfect, but at least its possible in theory.

On the other hand, it's my understanding that Sun's tool is based on the .doc/xls/ppt compatibility code of StarOffice/OO.o. That is, it converts between ODF and Sun's best guess as to Office's binary format. Any incompatibilities between StarOffice/OO.o and MS's binary formats are carried over to MS Office itself when using Sun's tool to load ODF files into Word/XL/PPT's internal structures, and vice versa.

Edited 2007-07-10 23:46

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: fake hope
by Moochman on Wed 11th Jul 2007 03:02 in reply to "RE[2]: fake hope"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

The MS-sponsored plug-in is dog-slow and doesn't integrate into the save dialog. Plus it requires you to install .NET 2.0, and the MS Office 2007 filters if you happen to be using another version of office. Other than that it does a halfway decent job.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: fake hope
by lemur2 on Wed 11th Jul 2007 03:38 in reply to "RE[2]: fake hope"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I think that the Microsoft-sponsored ODF plungin will be better


The Microsoft-sponsored software for ODF is a convertor. It converts from OOXML file-format-on-disk to and from ODF file-format-on-disk. The Microsoft-sponsored ODF convertor is not a "save as" plugin, and you cannot directly open ODF files with it either. You cannot set "ODF" as the default document format. With the Microsoft-sponsored software for ODF in conjunction with Windows and MS Office you are faced with the following severe limitations:

(1) You cannot open ODF files directly into Office,
(2) You must save a document you are authoring on disk as OOXML first, before you can produce an ODF version of the same file,
(3) The conversion is very poor because of the obscured bits in the OOXML format, and because it has an extra and un-necessary conversion step to use OOXML as an intermediate format it is molasses-slow,
(4) You cannot double-click on an ODF file in the file manager (or single-click on a link in IE) and have MS Office start up and load the file,
(5) You cannot associate .odt or other ODF formats with MS Office applications and have it work correctly,
(6) You cannot integrate the operation of ODF formats with MS Office and receiving/sending files via Outlook, and
(7) You cannot integrate the operation of ODF formats with Sharepoint.

The Sun plugin suffers from none of these crippling limitations. The Sun plugin converts between MS Office in-memory representations to and from ODF file-format-on-disk. It works in almost the same way as saving and loading OOXML itself does ... direct loading and saving between the file-format-on-disk and the in-memory represenation.

The Sun plugin can make it so that ODF can effectively be used as the default file format for MS Office.

This latter capability is the precise and exact reason why Microsoft mandated such a poor design for the Microsoft-sponsored ODF convertor in the first place. Microsoft do not want MS Office to have a viable and useable ODF capability, because Microsoft do not want the ODF format to succeed.

BTW, the Sun plugin (and in a similar vein the yet-to-be-finished DaVinci plugin) both highlight that Microsoft's purported reason for supporting only OOXML and not supporting ODF (to whit "ODF cannot support our leagcy formats") was completely bogus spin.

BTW, since the Sun plugin allows one to load and save ODF-format spreadsheets directly to and from Excel, this plugin also shows up the bogus nature of some Windows-fan claims that ODF does not support formulas.

Edited 2007-07-11 03:52

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: fake hope
by lemur2 on Wed 11th Jul 2007 07:00 in reply to "RE[2]: fake hope"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

On the other hand, it's my understanding that Sun's tool is based on the .doc/xls/ppt compatibility code of StarOffice/OO.o. That is, it converts between ODF and Sun's best guess as to Office's binary format. Any incompatibilities between StarOffice/OO.o and MS's binary formats are carried over to MS Office itself when using Sun's tool to load ODF files into Word/XL/PPT's internal structures, and vice versa.


Ceratinly some of the code of StarOffice/OO.o is used for the Sun plugin. The bit that is used for sure is the bit that writes and reads files to and from disk in ODF format.

I'm not sure about the other side of the interface ... the bit that reads and writes to MS Office in-memory representation.

Certainly there is another plugin in the wings (the OpenDocument Foundation's DaVinci plugin) that uses Microsoft's own API calls to the in-memory representation in order to subsequently write out and read back in the data to disk ... just as Office 2007 uses the exact same functions to read and write an OOXML file to disk.

http://www.opendocumentfoundation.us/

I don't know how Sun's plugin works. I do know that the DaVinci plugin was working right up until the moment that Office 2007 was released by Microsoft with a last-minute change that broke the DaVinci plugin. (What a suprise that was --- *NOT*).

Perhaps Sun's plugin uses a different method and that is why it is out first, ahead of the release of the DaVinci plugin, which probably won't be ready for another month or two yet.

Edited 2007-07-11 07:12

Reply Parent Score: 3