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Subject: Re: [office-metadata] Suggested Changes on the Metadata proposal

I'm cc-ing this to the main TC list, because I think this question 
about interoperability is critical to ODF; it's not just about the new 
metadata support.

The question is, what should the language be on preservation of xml:id 
attributes in ODF 1.2. The xml:id attributes are critical to the 
metadata proposal, but they could also be used for other purposes.

The current proposal says they "shall" be preserved. Michael and Svante 
have suggested this be changed to the weaker "should" or perhaps to 
introduce some notion of "metadata aware" ODF applications (effectively 
a loop-hole).

My position is that if we change it, we should make it a general 
requirement to preserve attributes. We cannot allow applications to 
arbitrarily throw out critical attributes.

Moving on ...

On Jun 29, 2007, at 11:12 AM, Svante Schubert wrote:

> ...

I wrote (quoting Michael):

>>> 3. The focus of ODF of course are office documents. But there always 
>>> was the assumption that also other kind of applications should be 
>>> able to use ODF. So, if someone develops a small text editor and 
>>> wishes to support ODF to the extend that typical text editors can, 
>>> this should be be possible. Our language should not prohibit that. 
>>> We should also not forget the various ODF plug-in efforts for MS 
>>> Office or similar ODF implementations. They have only limited 
>>> control of what happens with certain information during complex 
>>> load, edit and save operations within MS Office. I'm not sure if 
>>> they can preserve all metadata and all xml:ids under all 
>>> circumstances in a way that keeps the metadata consistent and 
>>> therefore of value.
>> Well, let's say an application doesn't care about metadata. All they 
>> have to do is preserve the files in the package and the xml:ids as 
>> is. They need not do any kind of processing.
>> I don't see how this is any real burden (?).
> It is our goal that a wide range of applications comply to the 
> OpenDocument file format.

Same with mine. I just think this argument is a red herring; some vague 
hypothetical concern measured against absolutely certain and concrete 
problems that will emerge if applications do not preserve xml:id 
attributes and associated files.

If an ODF application does not preserve them, it should not be called 
ODF 1.2 compliant.

> And yes, your request would be indeed another burden for any of these 
> applications to accept the OpenDocument format.


> Therefore it seems best to keep these rules optional unless the 
> application plan to implement the metadata feature.
> And when I mentioned ODF applications, I do not meant OpenOffice.org, 
> for which it won't be a problem as we desire the feature.

I strongly disagree. Preserving files and attributes is a trivial 
requirement. Not doing so will introduce large compatibility problems.

Really, just to be clear: if applications do not preserve xml:id 
attributes, fields will break, and any metadata about document 
fragments will be made invalid. Is that really in anyone's interest? 
They need not support metadata in any explicit way to do this.


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