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Going long here. Sorry.
We seem to be able to use MS Word here to do that. We rely on:
o Templates (not much more than a copy of the outline with the styles set)
o Common sense (don't be creative and the styleGoons won't come to see you).
Controlling the chimps is expensive and the bonobos won't pay attention
anyway so don't waste your time or money.
Lots of things are going on here including politics that would make
NicTheMach proud, but the trouble is we really don't have a way to
say when something is
a) open b) open enough c) good enough
except to let the market choose. If there is a common core as claimed
often over the years, if we want fewer XML languages, if we want
an open market, we may just be wanting too much. The fact is,
MSoc IS by market adoption the current de facto standard. The numbers
are there. On the other hand, MSDoc is also a proprietary closed
format with closed semantics and that is objectionable to some
for different reasons but undeniably closed markets lead to
de facto standards that regardless of certifying organization are
still closed markets.
So beyond the technical discussion which is most interesting is
the market discussion which isn't nearly as sunny as advertised.
Why? The technical discussion has implications about the
commoditization of component software. Schwartz mostly gets
this right but I'm not sure people are applying it to this case.
MS is opening it up in Office 12 and most I think outside the
usual AnyoneButMS crowd laud that, but it doesn't mean much
in the medium to long term. Sure, you can develop for it but
the possibility is that by the time you get to market there
won't be one because the market may move on to a new architecture
for the task in general (don't need complex word processing
for the majority of tasks and those that do have apps that
have reached a Nash equilibrium of feature sets, so upgrading
isn't the delight or requirement it used to be).
Given those, I can skip past that and ask some interesting questions:
1. Is there a common core? Is it possible that HTML/XHTML
covers most of that ground?
2. Is the inflection point some see coming not one of converging
XML WP formats but of a next-generation system where the desktop
and browers disappear in favor of bundled just-in-time components
delivered with the application/task/user/role/privilege/security
in mind? IOW, skip the wpWarz and move right into the death of
the browserAsCertainToBeOnTheDesktop discussions (see MAC86).
Keep in mind: some word processors have features that are seldom
used but ARE used by some. Now, who pays for those, what should
they pay, and how should they procure them because we aren't really
sharing tasks but costs and data across the enterprise and that means as
customers, we aren't in control of our procurement. If there is a
standard common core plus namespace-added features, then we are.
Plugins are a fact of life in audio applications and almost every
other commodity app I use EXCEPT word processors.
One of the now aging arguments for thin clients was enabling the
customer/management to control what is on the desktop rather than
getting huge bundles of mostly unused features. The other side
of the curve is the tendancy to bundle them anyway because software
on a disk is like printing money; on the other hand, in an intermediated
click economy, that isn't necessarily so.
Curmudgeonly rant: iTunes, eBay, etc., suck. I don't like intermediated
economies: that is the music business model. Producers hate it even as
consumers get to like it because it pays those who do not much but make
connections and say yes/no to your work. A customer gets to buy a
song or component by the piece but the supplier isn't *allowed* to
sell by the piece. That stinks by effectively raising barriers to
competition and keeping the game in the hands of the bigCos.
From: Robert Koberg [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 2:12 PM
To: Bullard, Claude L (Len)
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Common Word Processing Format
Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
> What I am on about here is what is the common core?
I think this misses what is going on. I think what is happening is not
what is the best format, but what is /currently/ the easiest way to
Authoring MSWord or OOWrite docs is most definitely not the best way to
create a set of coherent, standardized and usable documents for an
entity/organization/corporation. But it the easiest for the slightly
computer savvy. One-off docs that satisfy the authors style whim and
discretion, sure, but not the larger group. Corporate blogs approach
something that could be cool, but are seriously limited.
Since no one has created (or had the marketing force to
explain/advertise...) a simple interface for users and been able to
extol the virtues of why something is better than MSOffice/OO, we will
be stuck in a slow evolution.