Sunday, March 01, 2009

ODF and OOXML: interoperability issues

as already mentioned here using a standard does not guarantee to be vendor / implementation independent.

the following paper "Lost in Translation: Interoperability Issues for Open Standards -- ODF and OOXML as Examples" shows that complexity is one major show stopper in this area.


OOXML and ODF try to define office documents this means that content, content structure and layout (and application semantic) must be standardized.

because the complexity of both standards is high only limited amount of vendors are able to implement 100% coverage of the standard and even if they try they are not able to prevent errors in implementation.

lessons learned?

standards should carefully consider good old "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." (see principle. in our context this means that those standards require certain, atomic level of conformance which makes it possible for each vendor to implement a certain and complete subset if the complete set is not possible and useful for a particular application.

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