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Subject: Just published: IEEE Internet Computing article on OpenDocument

FYI: IEEE recently published an article by Rob Weir on OpenDocument.

I could not find a publicly-accessible URI (viz., DRM- and payment-free),
but I think both ACM and IEEE grant authors the right to retain limited
IP so as to allow publication of their own written work on personal
websites.  If someone can supply a public URI, I'll cite and abstract
this article for the XML Daily News (newsletter).

Congrats, Rob.


OpenDocument Format: The Standard for Office Documents
Rob Weir, IBM
Editor: Barry Leiba (leiba@watson.ibm.com)
IEEE Internet Computing, Volume 13, Number 2 (March/April 2009), pages 83-87


For many years, when you used a word-processing application, your files
were stored in a format that was fully understood only by the application
you used. WordPerfect stored WordPerfect files, Microsoft Word stored Word
files, and so on -- and, while developers often included ad-hoc support
for their competitors' formats, that was a hit-and-miss thing, vulnerable
to changes in the proprietary formats. The same went for presentation
slides and spreadsheets. We all have experience with the results of this,
with the difficulties in exchanging files between different applications.
OpenDocument Format (ODF) is an XML-based open standard file format for
office documents such as these. ODF is application-, platform- and
vendor-neutral, and thereby facilitates broad interoperability of office
documents. In this issue's "Standards" department, IBM's Rob Weir, who
worked on the ODF standard, will take us through some of the history
and details of it...

ODF Futures: The OASIS ODF TC is currently completing work on its draft
of ODF 1.2, which we hope will be ready for formal public review and
approval as an OASIS standard in mid-2009. ODF 1.2 will focus mainly on
(1) the addition of an RDF/XML and OWL-based metadata framework to allow
metadata annotations of ODF content at a fine-grained level, which will
facilitate applications such as semantic tagging, real-time collaborative
editing,and document compositing from shared fragments;
(2) the specification of a detailed expression language for spreadsheet
formulas, called OpenFormula, which contains hundreds of commonly used
logical, mathematical, financial, and scientific functions;
(3) additional enhancements to further increase accessibility

In a parallel effort, as ODF 1.2 is completed, the ODF TC has created
an 'ODF-Next' requirements subcommittee to collect, classify, and
prioritize feature proposals for subsequent ODF versions... Although the
initial versions of the ODF standard have focused on encoding the
storage format for the three conventional PPA application types, ODF
isn't limited to these uses. Its fundamental building blocks -- a
packaging format for bundling multiple XML files and associated media,
text structure and formatting, vector graphics, and mathematical
equations -- are also applicable to a wider range of application types,
such as project management, outlining, mind-mapping software, or wikis.

The conventional WYSIWYG word processor could be nearing the end of its
useful lifetime. ODF might evolve to take on greater sophistication in
the area of semantic encoding, with facilities to let authors capture,
in a structured way, more of what they're thinking. Human thought is
far too rich and diverse to be captured merely as bold, italic, or
underlined. An allowance for semantic layers could let authors encode
not just their assertions but also their judgments, estimations of
certainty and doubt, facts versus opinions, provenance, authority, and
so on in a way that would better lend itself to visualization, mining,
and analysis. The challenge, which we eagerly anticipate, is to evolve
ODF in a direction that embraces these (and other) possibilities..."


Robin Cover
OASIS, Director of Information Services
Editor, Cover Pages and XML Daily Newslink
Email: robin@oasis-open.org
Staff bio: http://www.oasis-open.org/who/staff.php#cover
Cover Pages: http://xml.coverpages.org/
Newsletter: http://xml.coverpages.org/newsletterArchive.html
Tel: +1 972-296-1783

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