Document Interoperability Initiative Demonstrates Momentum and Results

REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 3, 2008 — Through the Document Interoperability Initiative (DII) global forums, technology leaders have been working together to promote interoperability between different document format implementations to provide greater value and choice to customers, and the events — including one held in Belgium this week — are yielding practical results.

Interoperability solutions announced today translate Open XML documents to a Web page (HTML) allowing readability on Web-friendly browsers such as Firefox, improve translations between different formats through optimized templates, and enable features that provide greater choice for customers and opportunities for independent software developers as they create and use business applications built on Java that manipulate business documents. At the DII events, discussions were also held about developing document test libraries and schema validators, and vendors had the opportunity to test their implementations of document formats in a lab environment to identify potential issues to be addressed.

“Achieving interoperability between document formats requires the IT community coming together to test implementations and develop tools to promote interoperability over time,” said Jean Paoli, general manager of interoperability strategy for Microsoft. “We’re pleased to see the Document Interoperability Initiative events fill this important role over the past several months and result in real-world tools and solutions that will help vendors meet the interoperability needs of customers.”

Since the launch of DII in March 2008, industry leaders and representatives from vendors around the world have gathered at a series of technical discussions and labs — held in cities in China, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. — in a collaborative effort to identify, test and develop solutions to overcome document interoperability barriers.

“The real work of document interoperability is practical and requires an open and collaborative effort — industry leaders and vendors coming together to identify and resolve technical issues,” said Gianugo Rabellino, CEO of Sourcesense. “The dialogue and technical lab work taking place at these events are tangible steps toward moving the bar forward.”

Participating experts and vendors have worked within the DII events to identify gaps in interoperability as documents flow across platforms and applications and to develop solutions to address or minimize these gaps over time. These solutions can take many forms, including the technologies announced today and the test tools and libraries being discussed by participants.

Open XML Document Viewer Offers Lightweight Viewing Solution

The Open XML Document Viewer provides direct interoperability from Open Extensible Markup Language (XML) to HTML formats, enabling access to the information from any platform with a Web browser, including many mobile devices. The project also includes a plug-in for Firefox. Today’s customer technology preview is the first milestone following the launch of the community development effort earlier this year. As a result, users can now download a plug-in and begin viewing Open XML documents within the Firefox browser on Windows and Linux platforms without the need to install Microsoft Office or other productivity products. More information can be found here: http://www.codeplex.com/OpenXMLViewer.

Open XML/ODF Translators Version 2.5 Increases the Integrity of Translated Templates

Version 2.5 of the Open XML/ODF Translator is now available, and it provides practical interoperability between OpenDocument format (ODF) and Open XML by means of an add-in for Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and XP. As such, it is another step in the continual evolution of the translator project. Some of the improvements in version 2.5 include a set of ODF 1.1- compatible templates optimized for greater fidelity through the translation process, chart-related enhancements in spreadsheets, an enhanced installation experience and greater reliability. More information can be found here: http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net.

Apache POI Java SDK for Open XML Provides Choice and Opportunity for Independent Software Developers

A software development kit (SDK) for Java developers interested in working with Open XML documents is now available. This is another milestone following the launch of the Apache POI project in June 2007. Apache POI is a project of the Apache Software Foundation, with contributions from Sourcesense and others, that provides pure Java libraries for reading and writing files in formats used by Microsoft Office and other productivity products. More information can be found here: http://poi.apache.org.

Paoli added that that the solutions released today are expected to improve the installation, performance and stability of translated documents. These technical tools represent steady progress in the vendor community’s ongoing effort to develop real-world interoperability solutions, which includes fostering open and constructive industry dialogue around these issues through the DII events.

About the Document Interoperability Initiative

The Document Interoperability Initiative is a global program of technical vendor discussions, labs and solution-enablement programs to increase interoperability between document format implementations across a range of formats, applications, platforms and devices. This initiative is open to any vendor that wants to collaborate with the community to identify and address interoperability issues between different implementations of document formats.

The DII event in Belgium Dec. 2–3, 2008, is the seventh meeting in an ongoing series, which began earlier this year. At these events, participants have studied and tested document format interoperability in a variety of scenarios, such as mobile platforms, accessibility technology and document management by IT administrators. Additional DII document interoperability events are currently planned for the coming months. Further information on these and past events can be found at http://documentinteropinitiative.org.

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