in Microsoft

Standards require reference implementations!

First, some people bash Microsoft for not implementing DIS 29500 (OOXML) in Office 2007. Then, someone discovers that OpenOffice 2.4 does not create proper ODF. (Update: The test procedure was wrong). And then, Microsoft announce that a coming Office service pack will add native ODF support to Microsoft Office ahead of OOXML support. And, South Africa appelas OOXML adoption. Will Microsoft Office 2007 become the first Office suite to support ODF?

At the heart of the issue is the lack of reference implementations. ISO is way behind W3C in this area. Could someone please tell ISO that open source reference implementations are an absolute necessity when working with standards for information exchange?

From the W3C technical report development process section 7.4.4:

Preferably, the Working Group should be able to demonstrate two interoperable implementations of each feature.

It is simple really. The benefit of a standard is created when it is used. Open source reference implementations shortens the time to market for everyone implementing the standard in their products and also disambiguate interpretation of the standard specification.

Tim, please tell me you know someone at ISO that can fix the process.




  • David Vuorio

    “OpenOffice 2.4 does not create proper ODF”

    Griffin’s test is actually quite misleading – Rob Weir notes that the wrong version of the schema is used here. On that note, hopefully ODF 1.1 (or later) becomes an ISO-standard soon.