I always forget how much fun these developer conferences can be. On Tuesday, we had an entire afternoon focused on the Open XML formats. There were three presentations focusing on different aspects of the formats, followed by a couple hours of food and drinks at the conference. After that, a bunch of us headed over to a poolhall in Bellevue to play some pool, drink some beer, and talk about the new openxmldeveloper.org community.

My first presentation on Tuesday was pretty much an overview of everything that we're doing with the Open XML formats, and we had a huge turnout. We were in a really big conference room, which was actually made up of two rooms with the separation wall removed to form one large room (as you can see from the picture):

The crowd just seemed to keep growing as we first talked about the big picture of why XML is so important; then drilled into the details of the various schemas; and closed with Kevin Boske's talk about developing on top of the formats to allow for easy server based consumption and generation of Office files. I had tons of people come up to me after the talks who where just blown away by what we've now made possible, and they couldn't wait to start working with the Beta. This is going to be so much fun over the coming years! I've never seen so much excitement this early on the the product cycle. A lot of the folks had already used Office 2003's XML support, and that has helped increase the level of awareness and knowledge.

It's so much fun to get a chance to talk to all of you. I've had so many great questions over the past couple days, and I'm sorry I won't be able to make it out to the "ask the experts" table today at lunch (we have our weekly Ecma TC-45 phone conference from 1-3). I'll try to make it over there at some point today though. I was really impressed with how many people already have an intimate knowledge of the formats just from working with the Beta 1. Now that the technical refresh for Beta 1 is out, people should be able to do even more with the XML support.

I had some folks come up who already had large production level systems using the WordprocessingML support from Office 2003. They had some good questions around how they could best migrate these solutions into the new Open XML formats. As I told them, the old XML formats from Office 2003 will still be supported in Office 2007, so they don't have to change if they don't want to. The new Open XML formats though are largely based on those earlier schemas, so migrating forward to use the new formats shouldn't be too difficult (and we'll provide much more documentation around this once we get closer to solidifying the Open XML formats in Ecma).