XPS and Open Packaging Conventions

I've decided it is way overdue that I start blogging about the amazing work we are doing around documents in Windows Vista.  1st topic is to talk about the splitting of the XPS specification into two parts:  XPS and Open Packaging Conventions.  I'm sitting here at my desk looking at the new printed copies with bright gold-colored covers (every version gets a different color for some reason).  The latest version is 0.75 and was released at PDC.  Get the latest version here:  www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps.

Back to splitting up the spec. 

We have always had two big innovations going on in the D2 team.  The XPS document format and a the file packaging architecture that is used both by XPS but also used by the new Office 12 XML format.  Both of these technologies were embodied in the original XPS spec, but was getting harder and harder to talk to customers about the value of the package vs the value of the document format while referring to them as one thing.  So, we finally got smart and split the spec up. 

Open Packaging Conventions is the architecture of using Zip and XML to packaging up data into a file.  This is not only how XPS and the new Office 12 XML file format packages data, in can be used by anyone that wants a unified way to store information in a file format.  The value here is that there are a set of great APIs in the Windows Presentation Foundation that can allow anyone to manage a file built on the Open Packating Conventions.  There were some great demos of this at PDC.

XPS is likely more familiar to everyone.  It is the new document format that is the foundation of how we communicate graphics from applications to screen or to print and it is an integrated part of Windows Presentaiton Foundation.  I will probably blog more about XPS in the future, but wanted to at least start off by discussing why we split the spec up.