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   Re: [xml-dev] Common Word Processing Format

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>From: Robert Koberg <rob@koberg.com>
>To: Michael Champion <michael.champion@hotmail.com>
>CC: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
>Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Common Word Processing Format
>Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2005 16:24:55 -0500
>How is a distributed (by its nature) MS Office document better for live 
>data versus something that lives at a centralized location?

I'm just saying that active business documents populated by enterprise apps 
or databases is a design point for MS Office (at least to hear its 
evangelists discuss the matter) whereas static text documents seem to be the 
main design point that ODF evangelists discuss. I try to leave technical 
issues in the ODF/MS Office debate to Brian Jones, so all I'll say in 
defense of that assertion is that MS Office's support for W3C Schema is 
going to make data-oriented applications easier than ODF's support for RELAX 
NG will.  Maybe not in principle (I think we've had that debate here), but 
in actual practice today.  Sure, there's gotta be an 80/20 point, but it's 
looking to me like there are a lot of different ones rather than one we can 
all live with.

Hence my conclusion:  As nice as it would be for lots of people to have a 
One Size Fits All universal standard for "office" documents, I don't see any 
of the contenders fully fitting the bill.  Some are more oriented to text 
and hand-authoring, others more willing to accomodate ugliness (to an XML 
geek anyway) to make it easier for programs to generate the format and map 
to live data.

As with everything else, the "best" solution in hindsight is unlikely to be 
the one that wins.  If we had it to do all over again, I'll bet something 
like XHTML 2.0 would have been the Right Thing -- basic markup for totally 
generic document concepts, formally extended by namespaces to handle 
graphics, tables, forms, specialized features, etc.; and informally 
extendible by "microformat" conventions to handle domain-specific semantics 
for things like syndication and subscritpion exchange. Oh well...Think of 
all the entertainment value that the browser wars, the RSS wars, the "open" 
document wars, and the "omygod, OPML sucks, but you have to use it anyway" 
angst brings the geek world :-)

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