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Subject: [office] the simple proposal: forwards compatibility

"Dave Pawson" <dave.pawson@gmail.com> wrote on 07/14/2008 07:31:22 AM:

> As a more general question, the standard should perhaps
> provide an expected reaction by a version x application
> to content in version x+n?
> Does such content fall into that defined in 1.5 (weak as it is)?
> Ignore it?
> Remove it if you want?
> What should a 1.2 application do with content from 2.0?

Perhaps we can add some language to ODF 1.2 for how an ODF 1.2 processor should process unknown elements from ODF 1.3.+.  However, we can't, in any formal way, tell an ODF 1.0 processor what to do with ODF 1.2 documents, since we cannot change the ODF 1.0 specification.

As a practical matter, an ODF 1.0 processor has three choices when ODF 1.2 comes out:

1) Do nothing, meaning it will either reject ODF 1.2 documents, or use some pre-existing generic fall-back mechanism, perhaps ignoring whatever it does not recognize.

2) The authors of the application will make a minor update when ODF 1.2 comes out, perhaps setting an ODF12=true flag when loading the document and then doing some conditional processing of the document based on knowing it came from ODF 1.2.

3) The authors of the application will make a major update, writing full native support for ODF 1.2, probably reusing much of their ODF 1.0/1.1 code.

My impression was that most major ODF implementations were planning on #2 or #3.  Choice #1 will lead to data loss is some scenarios.  For example, ODF 1.2 has added table support to presentations, for accessibility.  If an ODF 1.0 processor comes upon a document with a table in a slide, I cannot imagine it will be satisfactorily rendered by any pre-existing fallback mechanism.


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