April 21, 2008 7:46 AM PDT

Office 2007 fails OOXML conformance test

Office 2007 fails OOXML conformance test
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Word documents generated by today's version of Microsoft Office 2007 do not conform to the Office Open XML standard under development by the International Organization for Standardization, according to tests run by a document standards specialist.

In a blog posting last week, Alex Brown, leader of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) group in charge of maintaining the Office Open XML (OOXML) standard, revealed that Microsoft Office 2007 documents do not meet the latest specifications of the ISO OOXML draft standard.

"Word documents generated by today's version of Microsoft Office 2007 do not conform to ISO/IEC 29500," Brown in the blog post recounting the process of testing a document against the "strict" and "transitional" schema defined in the standard.

Microsoft Office 2007 saves files in OOXML, an XML-based format, which has been offered for standardization through the Ecma industry body to the ISO. Since a vote narrowly accepted OOXML as a draft international standard earlier this month, ISO is now in control of the specification.

As changes were made at an ISO ballot resolution meeting, Office 2007 documents no longer conform to the current standard based on OOXML, known as ISO/IEC 29500, according to Brown.

In a statement sent to ZDNet UK on Friday, Brown said that although he is hopeful that Microsoft will update its Office products to stay in line with the version of OOXML approved by ISO, it is not guaranteed.

"The question behind the question, for a lot of the current OOXML debate, seems to be: can Microsoft really be trusted to behave? We shall see," Brown said.

Commentators, including Tim Bray, the inventor of XML, have suggested that Microsoft is unlikely to bother to keep conformant with the OOXML standard as it develops within ISO, but Brown was more optimistic.

"Given Microsoft's proven ability to tinker with the Office XML file format between service packs, I am hoping that Microsoft Office will shortly be brought into line with the (ISO/IEC) 29500 specification, and will stay that way," Brown said. "Indeed, a strong motivation for approving 29500 as an ISO/IEC standard was to discourage Microsoft from this kind of file-format rug-pulling stunt in future."

Brown added that Microsoft has probably realized that there may be considerable commercial advantages to becoming a good citizen in the standards community.

"Actively working to make OOXML an internationally informed standard will help them to retain their considerable share of the desktop office space, as this removes objections to Office having a proprietary, vendor-controlled format," he said.

In future, Brown hopes to repeat the test to see if the open-source alternative to Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, conforms with the Open Source Initiative (OSI) version of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) document standard: ISO/IEC 26300.

He asked: "Will anyone be brave enough to predict what kind of result that exercise will have?"

Peter Judge of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
Alex Brown, Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Office, XML, OpenDocument Format

52 comments

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For All Pro-MS'ers
Somehow, "we told you so," just doesn't quite
say it...
Posted by `WarpKat (275 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Told them what?
The standard MS submitted was changed during the process, as noted in the article. You'd have to be a mouth-breathing idiot to expect an appliation to conform to a standard that was not finalized until the end of the standard setting process. Frankly, I'm surprised at the lack of forethought on the part of the folks that thought a test was needed to confirm this. There was zero chance any app would conform to this essentailly new standard.

Granted, there ARE a lot of those mouth-breathers around these parts...It's what keeps us coming back!
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
Nobody can conform to this "standard"
It has too many errors, contradictions and dependencies on other documents.

Which is why it will never be a standard, regardless of how many ISO members Microsoft bribes.
Posted by The_Decider (3097 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I only have one problem with this statement.
MSOOXML is already a standard.

Thanks, Norway!
Posted by `WarpKat (275 comments )
Link Flag
6000 pages?
LOL, nobody is going to conform to 6000 pages!
Posted by Phillep_H (497 comments )
Link Flag
Lost me at "It's a Standard"
Everything else is smoke and mirrors. Who gives a crap if Office
2007 does not "conform" to OOXML. OOXML is a quasi
proprietary binary, and xml formulation created to support
Microsoft enterprise solutions, and increase the publics
dependence on Microsoft. The fact that the current version
does not conform, means that you "might" get a version that
conforms in the future that everyone "must" buy.

Paying off a few people force it through a system to get a stamp
of approval does not make it a standard. Real world use, and
acceptance is what makes a standard. That means usage across
all platforms, and not in some meek manner.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Let not anyone forget
Standards bodies were created to recognize, and ratify existing
protocols that were already widely used.

Don't let anyone believe for one second that staking a flag in the
ground, against the objection of all others, is NOT invalid. But
rather a bastardization of how the process was supposed to work.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
Just to repeat; "It Is Not Going To Be Over...
... Until The (Fat) Lady Sings"

Re:
"Brown added that Microsoft has probably realized that there may be considerable commercial advantages to becoming a good citizen in the standards community.

"Actively working to make OOXML an internationally informed standard will help them to retain their considerable share of the desktop office space, as this removes objections to Office having a proprietary, vendor-controlled format," he said.

In future, Brown hopes to repeat the test to see if the open-source alternative to Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, conforms with the Open Source Initiative (OSI) version of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) document standard: ISO/IEC 26300.

He asked: "Will anyone be brave enough to predict what kind of result that exercise will have?"

How go the "i-n-t-e-r-o-p-e-r-a-b-i-l-i-t-y" issues (between Microsoft Office XXX and OpenOffice XXX...!!!

Read the subject line. ;-)
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Documents based on xml is a good idea
I still beleive that. After all, it conforms well with how web pages are built on the internet. But microsoft has made an absolute MESS of trying to do it right. If it was me, a few heads would roll in Redmond. Rule of thumb: If you're going to submit a standard, make sure your own software works with it.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hi folks, Look who just showed up for the XML Party!
A big round of applause for "Seaspray0" :-) ; and, this is what he has said in part; "Microsoft has made an absolute MESS of trying to do it right. If it was me, a few heads would roll in Redmond. Rule of thumb: If you're going to submit a standard, make sure your own software works with it" Granted that the ISO is reported to have made changes to the proposed standards submitted by Microsoft... what was supposed to have been done in the first instance was for Microsoft to have sat down will all of the other companies (OEM) to iron out all the issues before the proposed standards were submitted; and, as this was not done, thus the situation we have today.

Enjoy the "ISO" XML Party "Seaspray0"! ;-)
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
This is a non-story with a misleading title
Office 2007 was released more than a year an a half ago. It conforms 100% to the ECMA-376 version of OOXML, which was published about the same time as Office 2007.

What the story refers to as "OOXML" in the title is in fact the yet-to-be published IS 29500 standard, which will differ from ECMA-376 by about 1000 items.

There is no way any year-and-a-half-old software is going to conform to a yet-to-be-publsihed standard.

That is the non-story. That's all.

P.S. Micrsoft has pledged to make MS Office 100% compliant with IS 29500 as soon as possible. Their SDK for OOXML applications, which will be released in beta form in a few days, will be 100% compliant with IS 29500.
Posted by Ian Easson (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: "Micrsoft has pledged to make MS Office 100% compliant...
... with IS 29500 as soon as possible. Their SDK for OOXML applications, which will be released in beta form in a few days, will be 100% compliant with IS 29500".

Also remember the following:

Re: "Concerning the issues with 1-2-3 that are talked about in the documentation you gave me, most of the issues are related to converting files between older and newer versions of product and converting documents between Lotus and Microsoft. Anytime a file is saved backwards or saved with an older file format than the format the file was created under, such as saving a 1-2-3 , 97 file for Windows 95 into a WK1 format for DOS, then naturally we are expected to loose certain features due to technology and features that are present now that were not present 8 - 10 years ago. Similarly, if we try to convert a file from Lotus into Excel or Excel into Lotus, due to differences in the products not every feature will be converted perfectly with the file filters that are available. Both Lotus and Microsoft create similar spreadsheet programs; however, there are several differences in both programs and these differences will remain to distinguish the products apart. We do try to design conversion filters that will allow as much of the file formats as possible to be exchanged and converted without disrupting the actual file design and format.

In one of your letters you made mention of the @IRR and @ERR functions in the 1-2-3 product. By design the @IRR (notably "absent" in Open Office) will calculate the Internal Rate of Return; where the @ERR is used in conjunction with other formulas, posted was an "ERR" showing an error was received in the calculations. As far as I can see in the program I cannot find an @ERR function that will allow us to calculate an Economic Rate of Return"

So, when will the above "interoperability issues" (between Lotus 1-2-3, Lotus Symphony, Excel, OpenOffice's Calc...) be addressed by IBM, OpenOffice.org, Microsoft et al? :-(
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
Their have had seven+ weeks to conform
Although you are correct in saying that their original Office 2007 couldn't support it. However Microsoft, has had over seven weeks (three weeks since it was approved) to update their products, to confirm to this standard.

How long does it take to update their current implementation to reflect the changes?
Posted by B.E2 (22 comments )
Link Flag
"IS 29500 standard"
Question, is that the name or the page count?
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Link Flag
Let's stand up as a community....
... to protect existing standards and new standards, by requiring Microsoft to conform to the standard them selfs. If they don't, we spread the it, it's as simple as that. ISO as already stated that if Microsoft doesn't behave, it will cancel the standard. Also governments will shy away from Office if it doesn't conform (the reason why Microsoft created it in the first place)

It's up to us to make Microsoft confirm.
Posted by B.E2 (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Their've had seven+ weeks to conform
Although you are correct in saying that their original Office 2007 couldn't support it. However Microsoft, has had over seven weeks (three weeks since it was approved) to update their products, to confirm to this standard.

How long does it take to update their current implementation to reflect the changes?
Posted by B.E2 (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: "Their've had seven+ weeks to conform"!
>>>"Although you are correct in saying that their original Office 2007 couldn't support it. However Microsoft, has had over seven weeks (three weeks since it was approved) to update their products, to confirm to this standard. How long does it take to update their current implementation to reflect the changes?"<<<< Who ever said that the Microsoft or the ISO are substitutes for the - "Illuminati" (the banking and financial systems around the world) where "data integrity" really counts! ;-)

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.masonicinfo.com/illuminati.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.masonicinfo.com/illuminati.htm</a>
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
We're MICROSOFT!
Standards? We don't need no stinking standards!!
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
what's the "story" here?
Peter, I don't think there's much of a story here: the final spec isn't even available yet, and Office 2007 shipped about a year and a half ago. More perspective here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://blogs.msdn.com/dmahugh/archive/2008/04/21/alex-brown-s-research-abiword-enhancements.aspx" target="_newWindow">http://blogs.msdn.com/dmahugh/archive/2008/04/21/alex-brown-s-research-abiword-enhancements.aspx</a>
Posted by dmahugh (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Another Cnet FUD report...
Cnet , get a life.
Posted by AppleSuxLeo (2777 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Cnet"....
... from all appearance does appear to be having a "good life" in publishing all the news articles that are fit for print (including this one). :-) What is the matter with you - Have you got some sort of "ERR Achilles Heel" to hide or something like that. LOL!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
NO DUH!! They Changed the SPEC! What do you expect!?!?!
CNET is definitely biased against Microsoft and it shows with this article. CNET I've been a faithful reader for years. But lately its been articles like this that get under my skin. If it were any other company this wouldn't be news. OF COURSE THEY ARE NOT CONFORMANT. THEY HAD TO CHANGE THE SPEC TO PASS THE ISO!!! Now they have to update the software which they will. They did push to have the spec a standard, don't you think they would follow up. But this articles makes it seem like they might not. That would be dumb. Of course they are... CNET start writing articles that are more objective...
Posted by irperez (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not changes but clarifications
Most of what is in the 2,000 extra pages submitted are clarifications on what stuff like "autoSpaceLikeWord95" actually means.

The POINT is that Office 2007 documents do not comply with either the ECMA spec initially submitted nor the amended spec that got rubber-stamped.

But you do serve your masters in Redmond well...
Posted by JadedGamer (207 comments )
Link Flag
Of Course! That's the Whole Idea!
Nothing will be able to conform to it.

Be safe and use whatever MSFT is shipping.

Really? Why would anyone dream that MSFT would want an open spec that anyone could conform to?

You've been had world! You should have remembered the first rule of dealing with MSFT: if their mouths are moving, they're lying - and while you're listening to the lies your attention is being diverted while they burn down your house and kidnap your children.
Posted by TheSmellyMoa (68 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Preved <a href="http://tut.by">tut</a>
Posted by Krag13w (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, that, of course, causes a lot of problems
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Posted by Krag13w (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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