Well, it has definitely been a pretty hectic couple weeks, and it's going to take me awhile to get caught up. I was in Boston two weeks ago for TechEd, and in Sapporo last week for Ecma meetings. Both were great trips, but it's nice to be home. The meetings in Sapporo were extremely productive, and you can actually read all about it in the status report filed by Tom Ngo from NextPage (http://www.ecma-international.org/news/TC45_current_work/TC45-2006-50.htm).

Some of the key things I wanted to call attention to:

  1. U.S. Library of Congress joins Ecma TC-45 - This was really great news. We've already benefited significantly with the participation of Adam Farquhar from the British Library, and I'm really excited to have the Library of Congress on board too. Like the British Library, the Library of Congress cares deeply about archival and is particularly interested in the long term accessibility of the formats.
  2. Progress on conformance definition - We've spent a lot of time debating how to best define conformance to allow for good interoperability while at the same time making it super easy to use just portions of the specification. We resolved a number of issues and I think we're really in a good spot here.
  3. Progress on WordprocessingML issues - We've made a lot of progress working on the initial WordprocessingML documentation and are now able to drill into the various issues logged by the various members of the technical committee. I think everyone was excited as we were able to start closing down some of the older issues.
  4. Java WordprocessingML to HTML converter - Toshiba gave us a demo of a WordprocessingML to HTML converter they've written in Java. I always get excited when I see tools built on top of the new formats. It's really one of the biggest differences between the old formats and the new. We'll see a lot more 3rd party solutions that were either not possible, or incredibly difficult with the old binary formats.
  5. Schema visualization - Representatives from BP, StatOil, and Essilor went over some ideas for making the documentation and schemas easier to visualize. There are about 4000 pages of documentation right now, and we really want to figure out ways to make it easier to consume.

It really was a great few days, but I wish I'd had more time to explore the area. I lived in Okinawa, Japan throughout most of Junior High and High School, and this was my first time back since then. I really enjoyed Sapporo. The food was great, and of course you can't beat being that close to the Sapporo brewery. Toshiba was an outstanding host.

-Brian