This post is a summary of some ideas for a lightweight semantic interoperability framework It is mainly a composition of existing open standards to form a framework for organisations to be able to ensure that semantic and technical descriptions stay connected over time. The idea is to provide a framework that allows for an increasing semantic interoperability emerging over time without having a large centralized organisation defining vocabularies. Continue reading
Without making a press release or public announcement the Swedish Standards Institute has formally approved ODF 1.0 as a national standard. Only the “SS” prefix in SS-ISO/IEC 26300:2008 give away the status of the document.
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?
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.
In the process of constructing a crawler that finds and checks PDF documents on a website I discovered a lot of sites that don’t return information for HEAD requests. A HEAD request should return the same set of HTTP headers as a normal GET request only without the actual payload.
The typical response seem to be status 500 (internal server error) on a lot of IIS sites. So, now is a good time to check your own sites to see what you get back from a:
curl --head http://www.mysite.com
Opening a particular Word 2007 document in Word 2008 can yield this error:
Seriously? Can’t Microsoft get their own implementations to cooperate better? And this has just been approved as an ISO standard?
I own the domain name standards-schmandards.com which I use for my accessibility blogging. Recent events have made me wonder if I shouldn’t use it to cover recent events regarding IE8 instead. Or, as Mark Pilgrim elegantly writes:
Said the monk:
If you give me non-standard markup, I will render it according to standards.
If you give me standard markup, I will not render it according to standards.
What do you do?
The student sat for a long time and said nothing. Then, without looking up, he raised one finger and said, “There is only one web.” Many years later, the monk was enlightened, but by then it was too late.
I thought the whole idea is that a standard is a contract that tool makers and content producers should be able to rely on. And now you are saying that the standard isn’t enough but that I specifically must inform a particular browser that I want standards standards mode?
The member countries have had six months to consider if the Office Open XML (OOXML) format should become an ISO standard. In Sweden, SIS arranged a working group that have looked through the material. As you may know the OOXML format has been heavily criticized (by many e.g. Google (PDF)) for allowing embedding of closed Microsoft-specific objects in the document standard and thus making it difficult for non-Microsoft software to read OOXML documents.
Unfortunately, SIS is an organisation where anyone can become a member. Member organizations can send participants to a working group for a fee. The current rate is 17,000 SEK (~$2,500). The day before the vote that decided if SIS would say yes to OOXML in the ISO there were a couple of new members in the SIS/TK321/AG17 working group:
|Company name||Relation to Microsoft|
|Formpipe software||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Cybernetics||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Strand Interconnect||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Cornerstone Sweden||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Solid Park||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Fishbode systems||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|KnowIT Sverige||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Modul 1||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|IDE Nätverkskonsulter||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Connecta||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Camako Data||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Sogeti||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Tieto Enator Corp.||Microsoft Gold Partner|
And so, Sweden will be voting yes to make OOXML an ISO standard.
For more information see:
- Patrik Fälström’s post “Microsoft managed to buy the vote of Sweden in ISO?“.
- Dagens Nyheter (in swedish).
- Matusow: Open XML – The Vote in Sweden
Update: This code has been integrated and greatly enhanced in the rexchange project by Sam Smoot. Update 2: iCal in Lion supports Exchange and none of this should be required anymore.
Having recently recieved a brand new MacBook Pro from my employer I needed to get basic things such as mail and calendaring working. We use Microsoft Exchange 2003 which is great if everyone is using Outlook. Since I work with various clients I am subjected to their respective firewall policy which typically only allows HTTP(S) traffic. This leaves us with Outlook Web Access (dumbed down interface for everyting but IE). Reading e-mail works fine in OWA. However, the calendar becomes useless as reminders won’t appear.
Unfortunately, Apple’s iCal doesn’t work with Exchange. iCal does, however, store data in the standard icalendar format. Having som experience working with WebDAV access to Exchange (which is available if you can reach OWA) I decided to write an Exchange API in Ruby to read calendar items and convert these to the icalendar format. So, I was about half-way through when I discovered that Sam Smoot had created RExchange. That gave me most of the API:s required for connecting to Exchange.
RExchange did not contain a class for working with appointments (only mail and contacts), so I had to add that. Also, RExchange uses the Time::parse method to convert strings to time representation which doesn’t work for dates after 2037.
Anyway, to export your Exchange calendar to iCal through WebDAV, download the rexport script, unpack the files and modify the rexchange.rb file with your login credentials and OWA URL. Execute rexchange.rb from the terminal. It will create an iCal storage file corestorage.ics in the same directory. This can be opened directly in iCal.
Future options may include a synchronization mode. Suggestions and patches are welcome.