It's interesting to say that curious four-letter word: Java. Equally curious is the16 letter word: WordProcessingML. I spend a lot more time working with the latter (and XML generally) than I do with the former. But, they are not mutually exclusive. Technologies (and they are not competitive in the sense that one is a language, a run-time and more, while one is an XML format. I just want any newbies to my blog to understand that I "get" the distinctions here)

I remember discussing WordProcessingML at Tech Ed 2004 (or was it PDC? I just can't remember anymore), and a great guy in the back got all jazzed when he realized he could use (shudder) IBM Websphere to produce docs for consumption in Microsoft Word 2003 by using WordProcessingML. It's a good scenario nonetheless-- because it's real. If there is one thing that I noticed when I took a job here is how much people who had worked here a long time very much behind the scenes wanted to know about how the products play out in the real world. They don't want to create in a vacuum any more than our customers want us to.

Now I have been here for two years, but I still have a lot of customer contact. I treasure this. I also stumble on other things that keep in touch with the real world. Here's a gem I overlooked last summer:

New Options for Java Reporting: SpreadsheetML and WordprocessingML ease the creation of Word and Excel Documents

It's an up-beat description about how to use the formats to create documents. Of course, there is the obligatory stuf:

"Creating a Java program to output or read WordprocessingML is not difficult. Java has great XML support."

Hey, it's a fair assessment generally (I welcome a reasoned debate on the XML support in Java vs. .NET). In any case, the beauty of the Office XML formats is that you have options and flexibility. It's something that plays well in the real world.

 Rock Thought for the day: I have a Zen Nomad Xtra 40GB music player. I was riding my bicycle to work on Friday listening to some Audioslave when I felt this cool feeling in my back pocket as the music stopped. I looked behind me to see the player still bouncing off the road and a car nearly running it over. I paused my heart-rate monitor (first things first!) and went back to check it out. The player survived completely undamaged, and the music keeps on playing. Just amazing. I am now going to endorse this product with greater fervor. Thanks Creative, for making a product with a durable case!

Rock On (and Vote for Pedro!)