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Subject: OpenDocument-v1.2-draft6.odt / Par. 1.5 page 39 preservation arbitraryelement content from should to shall

To the OpenDocument technical committee

Zwijndrecht, 05/11/07

Subject : OpenDocument-v1.2-draft6.odt / Par. 1.5 preservation arbitrary
element content from should to shall

Dear members of the committee,

First let me introduce myself. I sometimes develop software both in a
professional environment as for leisure. I'm studying the odf tool kit
from the OpenOffice.org community to implement it in a (internal)
business application. To have a good implementation one should look to
the specification and not to the produced file from an application.
Therefore I read with great interest the document “Open Document Format
for Office Applications (OpenDocument)v1.2 ” (document :
OpenDocument-v1.2-draft6.odt ). And in particular chapter 1.5 (page 39)
This chapter states that :


      /elements contained within the /|/<office:meta>/|/ element
      ///may/// have arbitrary element content and ///should/// be
      preserved. See section ./

A text with similar meaning can be found in version 1.0 and 1.1 of the
specification for OpenDocument. It surprises me that this is not *shall*.


In the specification room is made for “Custom Metadata” ( paragraph 3.2)
this feature greatly simplifies processing instructions for automatic
document processing and gives room for organisation specific meta data.
But at this moment OpenDocument applications may throw away these
because of the word *should.* This can cause trouble in the following
not so hypothetical situation. Image an application which makes
OpenDocument files with custom metadata, this metadata is used by
another application to process the document further. But the user can
also choose to edit this document by a third OpenDocument processing
program which is “off the shelf”. Then when this document is stripped of
its custom metadata by this program the reading application will run
into serious trouble by processing this document.

Technical Arguments:

Why should applications throw away tags which are not recognized by the
application, certainly when they are in enclosed in a well defined
<office:meta> element. The “overhead” will be minimal ,namely simply
ignore the tags which are not known.


Because of the ramifications of deleting custom metadata and the simple
implementation of leaving them untouched I would like to kindly ask the
commission to consider the proposal to change the sentence on page 39 of
the specification:


      /elements contained within the /|/<office:meta>/|/ element
      ///may/// have arbitrary element content and /*//should//*/ be
      preserved. See section ./



      elements contained within the |<office:meta>| element /may/ have
      arbitrary element content and */shall/* be preserved. See section .

Altough I know this specification is for preview only I would to do the
proposal now so it can be considered for the new revision. I'm more than
happy to give more clarification on this subject.

Yours sincerely ,

Timo Hartong
De Lus 329
3333 AW Zwijndrecht
The Netherlands

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