Delhi Open XML workshop

We had a 2-day Open XML workshop in Delhi this week, for local software developers and members of the technical committee working on the Open XML spec (DIS 29500). TC members included people from the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) as well as representatives of software companies operating in India.

It was fun to work with Vijay Kapur and Rick Jelliffe, both of whom I've not worked with -- in person, anyway -- for several months. The venue was FICCI, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, and the inaugural address included Vivek Bharati, IT Advisor to FICCI, as well as Neelam Dhawan, Microsoft Managing Director, and Vinnie Mehta, the Executive Director of MAIT. They framed the discussion as an opportunity for various points of view to be heard in a dialog including technical experts from all sides of the issue, and also as an opportunity for India to consider how document standards relate to local priorities and concerns.

It was all of that and more. We had some great discussion and debate with the attendees, including representatives from IBM and Sun, and we also had some side meetings with various people. Rick covered some of the content of the debates on his blog this week.

On Tuesday we also had presentations and demos from two Indian software companies that are working with Open XML already. First up was Intrasphere, with Vivek Agrawal and Vinay presenting (sorry, Vinay, I didn't make note of your last name). Then we saw a presentation from my old friend Tarun Lal of MS Technologies, showing how their annotated viewer product supports Open XML.

Tarun went through a presentation in PowerPoint, discussing how the XML-based formats are so much easier to work with than the binary formats of the past, and then at the very end he opened the same PPTX in the MSTViewer product and annotated some slides. Nice showmanship there, Tarun. :-) Seriously, it was a dramatic way to demonstrate what he had been talking about.

I also visited MS Technologies's office in Delhi late Tuesday with Tarun and my colleague Pali (developer evangelist from Bangalore). We had a chance to talk to their dev team and see a preview of something very exciting they're working on for release this fall. If you look close at this photo you might get a hint of it, but I'm not going to say anything further right now and we'll revisit this topic later. MST's new product deserves a very close look when the time comes.

And now, after a grueling travel day yesterday, I'm here in Washington, DC for the face-to-face meeting of the US technical committee for DIS 29500, INCITS V1. Rob Weir offered to host the meeting at IBM's office, so we're heading over there in a few minutes. I'm looking forward to meeting in person all these people I only know through email and phone calls, and it should be a productive two days.

I took a long walk early this morning to check out the neighborhood, and here I am in front of where we'll be meeting ...

P.S. If you're one of the numerous people whose emails I've ignored in the last couple of weeks, I'll be back home next week and you'll hear from me then. Sorry for the delay -- things have been a bit busy lately!