New Zealand ISV Blog

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The Office Open XML ISO Standards Process

The Office Open XML ISO Standards Process

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As we can see from Rod’s blog there are many businesses in New Zealand who believe that accepting Ecma Office Open XML as a standard is a significant step forward in providing choice to those already using the formats and those using legacy formats to develop and use Open XML solutions.

Since we first submitted the technology to Ecma International in November 2005, we have been working with members of Ecma Technical Committee including representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, Toshiba, and the United States Library of Congress.

This has truly been a cross-industry collaborative effort, to help make  the Open XML formats as useful and interoperable as possible. And more importantly, provide a clear, documented set of guidelines for organisations who wish to create or maintain solutions that depend upon the format. (Open Letter from Microsoft’s Tom Robertson and Jean Paoli entitled “The making of an open standard”, available online at www.microsoft.com/interop/letters/openxmliso.mspx.)

The Ecma committee made significant changes to the Open XML specification and also produced more than 6,000 pages of reference documentation on the formats, to help ensure developers could work easily with the formats, whether they wanted to take advantage of just a few specific features, or the full technology set of the specification.  (The official statement from Dr. Istvan Sebestyen, Secretary General of Ecma International, (http://www.ecma-international.org/memento/TC45-M.htm) underscoring the organization’s commitment to due process)

Taking a New Zealand perspective specifically, we believe (in addition to many of our customers and partners) that Open XML will:

· Protect our heritage and enable ongoing access to documents that are already in existence now and in the future.

· Give us freedom of choice to choose which application, vendor or platform we want to use in order to exchange documents.

· Secure our future when storing and formatting information without requiring the use of any specific organisation, machine or system.

· Foster innovation and enable the New Zealand IT industry to provide new and innovative software for markets locally and worldwide.

A related whitepaper entitled: “Why care about document formats?” is worth a read as well - http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/6/f/16fd06b3-7059-4e21-adf4-9fbdcb9a2853/Whycareaboutdocformats.doc

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