CyberTech Rambler

September 4, 2007

Sorry,… No OOXML export for you

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 7:25 pm

Pro-OOXML had been arguing that there are a lot of OOXML converter out there. They choose not to differentiate between import only, or import/export support. It’s true that we are still in the early days, but on the last count, we have more OOXML importers than OOXML exporters where it comes to applications that should really have import/export facilities for OOXML. Initially, I thought nothing of it, but lately, I am gradually changing my opinion.

To achieve full interoperability using OOXML, you need both import/export to the format, otherwise, you do not have “round-trip” capability. I gradually moving towards the opinion that to create import converter only is an unfair and selfish act because it is an attempt to pull customers away from another application, without giving them the ability to exit your application using the same route.

I hope the imbalance between import/export filters will be corrected. This is especially true of ODF-capable open source application. If we want to fight this battle, we need to fight it fairly. I am happy to say that at present, to Microsoft’s charing, if we were to review Office applications that support both import/export facilities, it is mainly a list of open source applications, with GPL-ed applications in the league of the better converters.

I agree with comments that import converters is more difficult than exporter from a technical implemention point of view and that once an importer had been created, an exporter is a relatively easy task. I know it because when I decided it will be too complicated to create an import filter for my application for SpreadSheetML, I think I still should be able to pull off a export to SpreadSheetML. May be commercial pressure make them release an importer first, with exporter to follow.

The biggest disappointment is of course Apple’s iWork’08. It claims round-trip MS Office support. However, you can import OOXML but only export in traditional Microsoft format. Not exactly the round-trip people like me expects.

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