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Writely warms to OpenDocument

Web word processor Writely supports the OpenDocument format in response to customer demand.

The company behind Web-based word processor Writely announced on Monday that it will handle documents saved in the OpenDocument format.

Writely was launched by privately held Upstartle in August of this year as a Web site to store, edit and share word processing documents.

The site allows people to upload Microsoft Word documents, which are converted to HTML. The company intends to support Adobe Systems' PDF and RTF as well.

On Monday, Upstartle said that users can also upload OpenOffice documents onto Writely. OpenOffice is an open-source desktop productivity suite that uses the OpenDocument document formats.

Users can also convert documents stored on Writely and save them as OpenDocument and Word files, according to Upstartle, a four-person outfit based in Portola Valley, Calif.

The company chose to support OpenDocument because of customer requests, said Sam Schillace, Upstartle co-founder. Writely has several tens of thousands of users, he said.

The Writely Web site saves documents in XHTML format. Because OpenDocument is based on XML, "it's a very easy translation," Schillace said.

OpenDocument has been gathering more support from software vendors other than Microsoft in the past few months.

IBM, Sun Microsystems, Google and Adobe, for example, are developing OpenDocument-based products or committing resources to organizations dedicated to OpenDocument.

Microsoft intends to accommodate OpenDocument in its dominant Office suite via third-party products rather than native file format support.