[05/18- Update: this translator is highlighted in today's Document Interoperability Inititice (DII) event that just happened in London ]
The OpenXML Document Viewer project idea came from the discussions with the participants of the Document Interoperability Initiative (DII) workshops (in particular last year’s Cambridge event). The point was to find a way to simply be able to view Open XML files as HTML. Following up, Microsoft provided funding to start the Open XML Viewer project, an open source project developed by MindTree Limited. The first beta version was unveiled at the last DII in Brussels, giving a first peak of the viewer (see a demo here).
Today I’m excited to announce the version 1.0 of Open XML Document Viewer. It provides direct translation for Open XML Documents (.DOCX) to HTML, enabling access to the information in the Open XML format from any platform with a Web browser. The project, which already includes a plug-in for Firefox IE7 and IE8 and now also offers a plug-in for Opera, allows users to view Open XML documents (.DOCX) within the browser on Windows and Linux platforms without the need to install Microsoft Office or other productivity products. Check out the demo my colleague Jean-Christophe Cimetiere has recorded to see the Open XML Document Viewer in action from the end user perspective:
For more detail on the supported features go visit the project site http://www.openxmlviewer.com
In principle, the functionality of the viewer is simply to translate OpenXML files into HTML for direct consumption in a web browser.
Here’s a scenario (the sample document is attached):
· You have an Open XML document (.DOCX). Let’s view it in Office Word 2007 first:
· Then, let’s say you email this file to your friend who’s using OpenSUSE Linux. Your friend saves the document on the desktop and drags & drops it into the Opera browser:
· The Open XML Document Viewer kicks off and creates the HTML that’s displayed by the browser:
The experience is similar with Firefox on Linux and and with Internet Explorer 7/8, Firefox 3.0.x, and Opera 9.x on Windows:
Next let’s examine the high level architecture:
The core of the project is the Translation Engine that does most of the work, meaning opening the .DOCX document, reading, mapping and transforming to HTML. The Translation engine is exposed as a client side browser plug-in with support for Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer, and as a cross platform command line translator for use in server side applications.
The result is a translator that enables Open XML document (.DOCX) visibility within browser applications without the use of any of the usual office productivity or word processing applications, across multiple platforms and environments, as either a server side application or as a client side end user solution. Developers, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), Solutions Integrators & Mobile Solution providers can use these tools to enable their customers to view Open XML documents on heterogeneous platforms and browser applications. Be sure to check out the Demo web site. It showcases server side document processing scenarios that represent very typical use cases.
We’re very excited with this new version and look forward to your feedback.
Join us at http://www.codeplex.com/OpenXMLViewer
Sumit Chawla, Technical PM/Architect, Microsoft Interoperability Team