There exist today billions of documents in the Office binary formats. With the move to the standard Open XML formats as the default for Office 2007; the free updates allowing Office 2000, XP, and 2003 to also support those formats; and the participation of other software companies like Apple in the Ecma standardization efforts, it's only a matter of time before there are billions of files in the Open XML format. You have the opportunity to be one of the first to learn, develop with, and provide solutions for these formats that will soon be everywhere (which is probably why you've been reading my blog)!

It's the first day of the Office Developer's Conference out here in Redmond, and I couldn't think of a better time to announce the formation of the community. I've been waiting for us to get this together for a long time now, and announcing it in conjunction with the Office Developer Conference gives a great opportunity to get a lot of the existing Office developers involved. There is a huge growing community of folks developing solutions on top of Office, and the XML support we've been rolling out over the past 6 years has really helped build that community. I already mentioned last year that we found there were about a million folks around the world developing on top of Office, and of those people, 1/3 were leveraging the XML functionality. That means there were 330,000 developers leveraging the Office XML support, and that number continues to grow larger and larger!

The group is completely free and open to anyone. There will be tons of content, code snippets, even free tools for working with the files. I'm especially excited about getting a broad range of folks that work on all different platforms. The more diverse the community, the more interesting and valuable the discussions will be. As time goes on, I hope we will see tools for working on all different kinds of platforms.

Ever since I started blogging last summer, it was clear that we needed to get a community organized to help fuel technical discussions around the Open XML formats. There is just no way I can stay on top of all the questions people have been sending, and I'm really excited to have a site that supports more active discussions. I'll obviously continue to blog, but now my blog won't be the only place you can go to get information or have discussions about the Open XML formats.

There are already 39 organizations from all over the world involved in the community. Here's a list of the founding members (hope I didn't miss anyone):

It should be a lot of fun over the coming years as more and more people start building solutions for these formats cross platform. Already today up on the site there is an article on the site that shows how to create a Word document from scratch in Java, while another article shows a real-world example of using the WinFX System.IO.Packaging API to work with embedded documents. This should be a lot of fun. I hope I'll see you all join me there as some of the first members of this new community.