Microsoft Open Office XML: Worse than you thought

Microsoft has screwed up yet another standards effort. This is getting old.

Arst Design has a probing article on Microsoft's Open Office XML 'standard.' Yeesh. OOXML is even worse than I thought. And to think I wanted to give Microsoft the benefit of a doubt. Fool me once....

Microsoft is trying to push new file formats that are using ZIP and XML. Are those new file formats any good for Office developers ? In other words, should anyone feel safe to make direct access to file parts, and start getting free of running instances of Microsoft Office and its COM object model, usually through VBA?

They insist on the fact that, provided you make a valid use of the XML, pretty much changing the content of anything in an existing document can be achieved by sequentially 1) unzipping the content 2) making appropriate changes to one or more XML parts that are compatible with the provided XML schemas and open packaging relationships 3) zipping the content back.

Unfortunately, Microsoft doth insist too much, as the article points out. The OOXML spec churns out broken code. Try again, Redmond.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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