Thursday, June 07, 2007

* Document Markup Languages : Office Open XML vs Open Document

Both Office Open XML (OOXML) and Open Document (OD) are document markup languages which define the storage structure of Office tools and currently both are competing with each other.

Here are few points about their history, similarities, differences and support for them in community.

  • Both are XML based formats for storing office documents.
  • OOXML is defined and supported by Microsoft and became ECMA standard in 2006. OD is supported by SUN and IBM and became ISO standard in 2006.
  • OOXML is a native format for MS Office 2007 and OD is native format for OpenOffice & StarOffice.
  • Both formats are still incomplete and evolving.
  • OOXML uses non-mixed content model while OD uses mixed content model.
  • OOXML stores external references like hyperlinks in a separate XML file while OD keeps them in main file.
  • OOXML uses short tags for XML while OD uses long tags. For large documents this can be a performance issue in case of OD as parsing and compression may take more resources.
  • Currently OD does not support digital signatures.
  • Tools supporting or going to support OOXML natively : MS Office, Corel etc.
  • Tools supporting or going to support OD natively : Corel, Lotus, OpenOffice, StarOffice, Google Docs.
  • Several Open Source plugins available for MS Office to open and save OD documents.
  • Recently Microsoft released the sdk for OOXML based documents.
  • Considering the wide spread use of MS Office and multi vendor support for OD, it seems both the standards are going to stay in future and hopefully we will see some converters for interoperability between the two.

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    1 comment:

    1. ODF is defined and managed by OASIS of which there are hundreds of members.

      Just a few of the apps that support ODF:

      * Abiword 2.4 (reading from 2.4, import and export from 2.4.2)
      * KWord 1.4+ (full native support since 1.5)
      * Writer (full support from 2.0, import-only in 1.1.5)
      o NeoOffice 1.2 Writer ( 1.1.5 derivate)
      o NeoOffice 2.0 Writer ( 2.0.3 derivate)
      o NextOffice 9.0 Writer ( 2.0.2 derivate)
      o StarOffice 8 Writer ( 2.0 derivate)
      o IBM Workplace Documents 2.6+ ( 2.0 derivate)
      * TextMaker 2006 (import only; export in development)
      * Coventi Pages, a web-based word processor and collaborative document review utility
      * Google Docs and Spreadsheets, a web-based word processor and spreadsheet application.[1]
      * Zoho Writer, an online word processor, can read/write ODT format
      * ajaxWrite, a web-based word processor, can read/write OpenDocument word processing (ODT) format
      * TextEdit, (In the Leopard Developers Preview) can read/write ODT format
      * Ichitaro (Japanese), read/write support via plug-in from version 2006, full built-in support from 2007
      * Microsoft Word (no native support, but available through free open-source plugin [2])

      This is just a small list (growing all the time). For more, see: Applications Supporting OpenDocument

      Because the file are zipped, the length of the tags have very little impact on the file size. The whole point of longer tags is to make it readable by humans. This is the goal of XML anyway occording to the W3C.

      OOXML contains many problems in the standard. Please read here for a good list: EOOXML Objections

      OOXML is encumbered by IP that will prohibit its use. Microsoft has said it will not use it's patents on the Current Version, but future versions are fair game.

      I am not pro either way, i just wanted to point out some more "facts" :)