Sun To Ship highly optimised build of OpenOffice.org as a conversion engine as Plug-In to MSFT Word

by M. David Peterson

Shifting some of the love in Sun's direction, Simon Phipps reports,

Sun Announces ODF Plug-In for MS Office

Great news today. Sun has announced that it will make available a plug-in for Microsoft Office that adds seamless support for ISO/IEC 26300 OpenDocument format. It works by using a highly optimised build of OpenOffice.org as a conversion engine and then inserting code into Word that adds ODF as just another peer file format, so that users can open and save ODF files just they way they would expect to, the same way as RTF, Doc and any other file format. You can even set ODF as the default file format.


Okay, so I have to take issue with the "No unmaintainable XSLT." comment further down the post, but that should be expected from someone in whom looks at XSLT and sees art, where others see tin-foil (you may not get that, and if you don't, I wouldn't stress over it... it's not that funny ;)

Beyond Simon's obvious lack of appreciation for XSLT, when companies are making an effort to make peoples lives better, more efficient, and ultimately more productive, you have to throw them props, and it seems to me that's exactly what Sun has done with this announcement. And let's be honest... who couldn't trust a face like this,



;-)

Good on ya, Sun!.

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Quick-Update: As I recently pointed out in a follow-up to my ODF vs. EOOXML post, I have a lot of respect for Simon Phipps. Now one might look at that and think "Simon is just as critical of MSFT and EOOXML as anyone else, if not more so" and find themselves scratching their head as to why then would I be making such a claim.

The answer is simple,

5 Comments

Simon Phipps
2007-02-08 00:07:22
Thanks for the thanks, appreciated :-)


My distaste for XSLT is long-term, just so you know, dating back to my days at IBM in the 90s. It certainly has its place in the document architects toolbox, but I pity the poor souls who have to maintain the transforms at the heart of the MS-sponsored code - I regard that as far more XSLT than should ever be allowed to aggregate. The best alternative I have seen is to use modular transforms, which divide-and-conquor and allow a reasonable approach to maintainability. Not heard a lot about them in recent years though.

M. David Peterson
2007-02-08 13:24:23
@Simon,


Thanks for the follow-up!


re: XSLT, you are obviously not the only one on the planet that feels this way, though the one side of XSLT that doesn't seem to get exploited nearly as often as it should is the ability to quickly and easily query the code-base, as well as scan through it via a simple tree-view control. Both can be helpful from a maintainability standpoint, and modular transforms are obviously the way to go without a doubt. I use them nearly exclusively myself, these days, so I am right in line with your thinking on this one.

W^L+
2007-02-18 16:22:14
... the one side of XSLT that doesn't seem to get exploited nearly as often as it should is the ability to quickly and easily query the code-base, as well as scan through it via a simple tree-view control. Both can be helpful from a maintainability standpoint, and modular transforms are obviously the way to go without a doubt.


From one whose direct XML experience consists of a college course, I do know that XSLT depends on XPath.  Modular transforms, on the other hand, I know nothing about.  Are they from W3C, ISO, ANSI, or any other alphabet soup standards group?


I'm looking forward to Sun's translator, as there may be an internal pilot for ODF soon.

M. David Peterson
2007-02-19 01:20:06
@W^L+,


Modular transforms are more of a style, than anything else, though if you look at the work Norm Walsh and his group are doing with XProc (one of the more promising/exciting specs currently under development at the W3C), you can probably gain a good feel as to what modularized transformations are all about, breaking things out into pieces, and pipelining them from one process to the next to gain the final result.


More info @: http://norman.walsh.name/2006/11/17/xprocwd

M. David Peterson
2007-02-19 01:33:59
re: I'm looking forward to Sun's translator, as there may be an internal pilot for ODF soon.


I agree (well, I obviously have no clue in regards to whether your internal pilot of ODF will be arriving soon, but I doubt much you were confused ;) :D) > The single most important aspect that I see taking place at Sun Microsystems as a whole is the push to produce new product, vis-a-vis lobbying the previous "there is only one way" campaign AKA Java. The last year of JRuby, VB.NET.Clone(), and the multitude of Java-compatible scripting languages that are being pushed out the JSR door, obviously we are staring in the face of a new Sun Microsystems in which is concerning itself with being less defining as to which route one must choose, and more concerned with providing as many routes possible, letting the customer choose which they prefer.


Maybe others see it differently, but to me, anyway, this is the primary reason behind my belief that in a very short space of time, Sun Microsystems stock will be worth its weight in gold.


Time will tell...