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Subject: RE: [office] Proposal for Advanced Document CollaborationSubcommittee

As I commented in an earlier thread about change tracking, Microsoft is happy to help create a draft proposal for change tracking in ODF-Next. John Haug from my team would be a good fit here, and we're glad to get him involved in coordinating any contributions we can make in this area. 

The first purpose of any subcommittee created to do this work, however, should be to examine the all the practicable options available for creating robust change tracking in ODF. That includes not simply looking at the DeltaXML proposal and massaging it, but also looking at other alternatives including reworking the existing ODF change tracking (as some TC members have suggested), looking into change tracking methods used in other standards, and starting from scratch to create a change tracking that is targeted  to the ODF standard and focused on the business needs of ODF users.

I am very concerned about the proposed timeline. While there may be new folks ready to work on it now, there are also likely to be folks still tied up with existing 1.2 work who want to contribute here. We also have the most holiday-heavy part of the year coming up between now and the proposed end date, January 31. It seems odd to rush something that is likely to be every bit as detailed as OpenFormula, perhaps even more so. I'm not suggesting another multi-year effort, but I am saying that the committee should take the time necessary to do good work rather than rushing through and taking the risk of turning out something that might end up being difficult to adequately implement, untestable, or given to less than decent interoperability. Rather than having a deadline of January 31, I'd suggest May 31 or June 30. That keeps the timeframe short, but gives a few more months of quality working time for the subcommittee. If there is an unspoken concern here that there needs to be work in progress to show JTC1 SC34, then having a subcommittee working on change tracking with a deadline of May or June 2011 should satisfy that concern.

My last concern about the proposal is the nebulous "other" collaboration scenarios. Change tracking is an issue that's been well understood as a problem and received a lot of discussion. By contrast, there has been no substantive discussion at all of other ODF-Next features by the ODF TC since August, and no activity in the subcommittee that was formed expressly to discuss ODF-Next. If the idea is to get the change tracking proposal done in a timely manner, why clutter the subcommittee with other unspecified work on a short deadline? If this subcommittee is going to be formed, let's make it about change tracking.

To that end, I'd suggest revising the proposal as following:

Advanced Document Collaboration Subcommittee (slug = office-track)

Statement of Purpose

Many ODF documents do not involve change tracking.  They are created by a single user, edited by a single user, and then perhaps presented or shared with multiple users, or maybe even just converted to PDF for distribution.

However, collaboration-based document scenarios are also common, and change tracking has emerged as one of the most-requested areas of ODF improvement. In order to bring together technical experts in this area, and for them to evaluate trends, investigate opportunities and draft enhancements to ODF in these area, we are proposing a dedicated subcommittee for this topic.

The purpose for the Subcommittee will be change tracking. 
Reliable and user friendly revision management is critical for professional document workflows in corporate and public sector environments, and as such an important feature of Open Document Format. 
The SC is asked to prepare a draft specification of a markup vocabulary that can accurately describe any incremental change to the content and structure of documents - typically made in multiple editing sessions by different authors.

List of Deliverables
0. A design draft detailing the possible solutions for change tracking in ODF-Next (target: January 31, 2011)

1. A draft specification for change tracking, including Relax NG schema's (target June 30th, 2011)

2. A description on how to apply change tracking markup to the various versions of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) as a host format.

3. A set of test documents that will allow implementers to validate their implementations.

4. A document that describes in detail how the existing change tracking mechanism in ODF can be converted to the new markup.

Cherie Ekholm
Senior Standards Professional
Microsoft Office Standards & Interoperability

-----Original Message-----
From: robert_weir@us.ibm.com [mailto:robert_weir@us.ibm.com] 
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 1:45 PM
To: Andreas J. Guelzow
Cc: office@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: Re: [office] Proposal for Advanced Document Collaboration Subcommittee

Certainly, I would be jumping the gun if I stopped working on ODF 1.2 and started working on ODF-Next.  But we do have some new members, just joining now, who are not working on ODF 1.2, and are interested in getting a head-start on the changing tracking proposal.

And note, we created the Metadata SC and the Formula SC when we were only half-way through the ODF 1.1 work.  At that time as well, it was a way of taking advantage of the enthusiasm of new participants (like David
Wheeler) while the rest of us finished up ODF 1.1 work, a release mainly focused on accessibility.

So I think there is some precedent for this.

But I certainly wouldn't want to presume to speak for the TC on what the contents of ODF-Next should be, at least not at this point.  But does anyone have any doubt whether change tracking should be a priority? 


"Andreas J. Guelzow" <andreas.guelzow@concordia.ab.ca> wrote on 11/04/2010
04:17:59 PM:
> Subject:
> Re: [office] Proposal for Advanced Document Collaboration Subcommittee
> Aren't we jumping the gun with forming a subcommittee to address a 
> specific new feature group for ODF-Next. Shouldn't we first finish
> ODF1.2 and then see which feature suggestions for the next ODF version 
> are suggested by TC members?
> Andreas

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