I'm in New York right now, and I was talking to some folks yesterday about the work that we've been doing in Ecma. It reminded me that I hadn't posted very much information on by blog though about how the meeting in London went last month. Adam Farquhar of the British Library posted a great summary of the meeting, so rather than repeat everything, I thought I'd just point you guys at that. Here is what he had to say:

The Ecma International Technical Committee (TC45) is working to establish a standard for Office Open XML File Formats as described in the TC45 program of work at http://www.ecma-international.org/memento/TC45.htm. The committee began its work in December 2005. The technical committee includes representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, and Toshiba, . Since January, the technical committee has held weekly 2-hour conference calls as well as regular face-to-face meetings in order to advance the work. The technical committee held its third face-to-face meeting from 18-April to 20-April in London. The meeting was hosted by The British Library and attended by nineteen participants. Previous face-to-face meetings had been hosted in Brussels by Ecma International and in Cupertino by Apple. The committee’s work has advanced substantially. During this meeting, technical work focused on SpreadsheetML and WordprocessingML. This built on previous work, including PresentationML. The committee will make publicly available an intermediate draft of the Specification for information. This is planned for May 2006. In addition, the committee continued to discuss models of conformance to support a wide range of innovative uses. Highlights of the meeting included a presentation from Barclays Capital of its use cases of SpreadsheetML, demonstrations of prototype tools by Essilor to create simple WordprocessingML documents, the tools used to create the Standard document itself, and early prototypes of open-source converters by Novell to import SpreadsheetML documents into OpenOffice and Gnumeric. The committee also toured the British Library’s conservation studios, deepening its understanding of long-term preservation. The committee’s next face-to-face meeting will be hosted in June by Toshiba in Sapporo, Japan.

Adam Farquhar (British Library)
TC45 Vice-Chairman

The two big things I wanted to call out from this were:

  1. This month there will be an updated draft release of the spec. I'm really excited about it because it will give a hear some feedback from folks who aren't on the technical committee. There has been a lot of work done over the past 5 months, and I'm excited for everyone to get a look at what we've done so far!
  2. Jody Goldberg from Novel gave a demo of Gnumeric (an open-source spreadsheet application that he works on) opening an Open XML file. He's been a really important part of the work so far and it was awesome to see that he's also been building an implementation of his own along the way. Here is a pointer to his work: http://www.gnumeric.org

Well, I have to get back to work. I also am hoping to get out and walk around the city a bit while I'm here. It's been a few years since I've been out here, and I love just wandering around. My wife came along for the trip too, so that makes the walking much more enjoyable. Talk to everyone later, and I'm sorry again to everyone who has been e-mailing me. I'll really try hard to reply to them all, but I keep falling further behind. Keep 'em coming though, or you could even post the questions up on openxmldeveloper.org and see if someone over there can help out.

-Brian