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Subject: Would someone examine list for "missing" ODF capabilities?

Before we wrap up the latest revision of OpenDocument, could someone look through this "features" file to see what (if anything) should be added to ODF, and if so how?:

I think several of the items are actually NOT problems in ODF, but misunderstandings of the authors.  Also, in many cases the authors seem to confuse the OpenDocument specification with OpenOffice.org (which as we all know is just one of several products that IMPLEMENT OpenDocument) - and so are just feature requests for OpenOffice.org.  But I think there are probably a few gems in here -- i.e., items that simply need the addition of an attribute that would really aid users.  Be sure to check the "Undocumented features" section of the webpage too.  I would do this, but I've been focusing on formulas and nothing in this document relates to formulas - it's only about comparing OpenDocument to Microsoft XML's DOCX.

Adding such capabilities, where we haven't already, would simplify people's transition to OpenDocument.

By the way, an interesting statistic: When printed, this webpage has about SIX PRINTED PAGES of capabilities that OpenDocument can do, but Microsoft XML cannot.  In contrast, it only has about TWO printed pages of stuff that Microsoft XML, but (it claims) that OpenDocument cannot.  And while I can't speak to the Microsoft XML list, it appears to me that many of the "ODF can't do this" material is really just "does it differently" or "OpenOffice.org doesn't do this" instead of actual OpenDocument limitations.  For example, they say ODF can't "start page numbering with something other than 1" but in fact I do that routinely.  And some of the Microsoft XML limitations of DOCX are nasty! For example: Microsoft XML tables can only hold up to 63 columns, it cannot prevent table splitting, table headings can't be multiple rows (and thus fail to be duplicated on new pages), it doesn't support rotating text by 90 or 270 degrees, controlling the number of widow/orphan lines isn't available, justified paragraphs can't change the last line alignment (so justified paragraphs are often impractical to use), and so on.  At least, that's what this analysis seems to say.

That suggests that Microsoft XML format is MUCH more limited, and unable to represent many real-world documents, compared to OpenDocument.  Which shouldn't be surprising, since OpenDocument development included a large number of different organizations who actively worked together to create a format that EVERYONE could represent their documents in.  Also, note that the referenced page only compares Microsoft XML and OpenDocument.  Microsoft XML appears to have problems representing .doc/.xls files as well, though whether this is a problem with the format or their tool I don't know. E.G.:
In any case, the MUCH, MUCH longer list of problems with Microsoft XML format isn't our problem.


--- David A. Wheeler

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