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Subject: Review of style use in ODF 1.3 specifications

My action under item 5 of the TC meeting on June 29 was to report in my review of use of styles in the ODF 1.3 specifications.


I have performed a preliminary review of the use of paragraph, character and list styles in Parts 2, 3 and 4 of the specifications, considering all drafts issued between July 2018 and January 2020 (CSD02).


All three Parts exhibit similar problems, of which the main cases are:


  • Two or more styles being used for the same purpose within a draft, e.g. the paragraph styles ‘Text Body’ and ‘Default Style’ both being used for body text.
  • New styles being introduced in later drafts, e.g. the conditional paragraph style ‘Appendix Heading’ being replaced by the non-conditional paragraph style ‘AppendixHeading1’ in CSD02 only.
  • Styles being dropped in later drafts, e.g. the paragraph style ‘Default Value’, applied to paragraphs that contain default attribute values, was somehow removed from Part 3 in WD13-03 onwards.
  • Many styles whose purpose is unclear and which appear to overlap other styles, e.g. in Part 3 there are four character styles ‘Attribute Value’, ‘Attribute Value Fragment’, ‘Attribute Value Instance’ and ‘Attribute Value Param’. Another example: Part 4 contains list styles ‘Example Numbering’, ‘Numbering 1’ and ‘Numbering 5’ (what happened to ‘Numbering 2’, ‘… 3’ and ‘… 4’?).
  • Poor naming of styles, e.g. the character style ‘Furmula Sub’ [sic] in Part 3, and inconsistent use of title case in style names.
  • Lack of stability in style definitions, which seem to change, especially in CSD01 and CSD02, e.g. changes to space above and below paragraphs, font sizes, background colors, etc.


My proposal is that the first Working Draft of ODF 1.4 should be based upon a template in which the named styles are well-defined in terms of their naming conventions, their definitions and their planned usage. For this to be achieved, the editors should ensure that:


  • A well-defined style schema is prepared, detailing the names, properties and intended usage of all paragraph, character and list styles.
  • There is a single text template to be used as a basis for drafting all Parts of ODF 1.4 and future editions, in which all styles conform to the style schema.
  • When ODF 1.3 is issued as a Candidate OASIS Standard, a version of the text of all four Parts is created in which all styles follow the style schema.
  • The text so created is imported into the new template to generate a clean working draft of ODF 1.4.


In order to create a well-defined style schema, the editors will need to complete the current review of styles in ODF 1.3, deciding which styles are needed, what properties they should have and how they should be used. I anticipate that this process, ending with the issue of style schema, template and first working draft of ODF 1.4, will take a further two or three weeks.


In order to support work on extracting default attribute values from the Part 3 specification, and to improve the HTML generated from the ODT file, I have already prepared an informal draft of Part 3, based upon CSD02, in which the style definitions are reset to what they were in early working drafts (which corresponded better to the styles used in ODF 1.2) and the paragraph style ‘Default Value’ is re-applied to paragraphs in which default attribute values are specified.



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