Draft 1.3 of the Ecma Office Open XML Formats Standard Now Available

by M. David Peterson

via a post from earlier today, Brian Jones, a program manager working on the XML functionality and file formats in MS Office, both reports, to then extend with additional commentary writes,

Draft 1.3 of the Ecma Office Open XML formats standard

Wow, we finally have an updated draft of the Ecma Office Open XML formats standard! http://www.ecma-international.org/news/TC45_current_work/TC45-2006-50.htm I've been waiting for a long time to be able to share all the great work that's been going on in Ecma TC45, and it's so awesome that we have a new public draft. I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks. If you go to that site, you'll see three different downloads:
Draft 1.3 of the spec - The big download is the spec itself in PDF form. It's about 25 megabytes and is around 4000 pages.
Draft 1.3 of the spec in the Open XML format - Alternatively, you can download the .docx version of the spec. Once Beta 2 comes out, you can open it that way (although opening 4000 pages of content with beta software may be slightly problematic )
Schemas - The schema files are also available for download. They are available in a ZIP file, that also contains an index.htm file that describes each xsd

We've been working really hard over the past 5 months bringing this standard along. There is still a lot of work to do, but you'll see pretty clearly that we've made a ton of progress over the initial submission from last year. We have weekly 2 hour phone conferences (they are actually at 6am my time which is not ideal ), as well as 3 day face to face meetings about every 2 months. The contributions from everyone has just been outstanding. It's so awesome to work with such a diverse group of people. While the initial submission was made by Microsoft, it's now completely in Ecma's control and we've had a lot of help from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, and Toshiba.

***Note*** Remember that this is just a draft. Some sections of the spec are much further along than others, so keep that in mind while you are looking through the spec. If you are in an area that looks like there isn't much information, odds are we just haven't gotten to that yet.


A lot of valuable information in both this post, and as I have recently come to discover over the past couple of weeks, in Brians overall blog entries in general. If you don't already, I would HIGHLY recommend (as does Rick Jelliffe from several days before me in this post) adding either the Atom 1.0 or RSS 2.0 feed to your feed reading mechanism of choice.

The world is filled with all types of document formats, and opinions as to which one is better for one purpose or another, but in the end content is King. If we could design one document format that could persist from now until the end of time, if that format were to never contain any content, it simply would not matter.

That said,