Miscellaneous links for 03/18/2009

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted, and I’ve come across several interesting blog posts and articles in that time.  Here are a few favorites …

There’s some cool new content that has started appearing on the OpenXMLDeveloper.org site.  First was the OOXML Crawler, an application that crawls all the documents at a URL (a web site or SharePoint library, say) and retrieves all of the metadata properties from those documents.  And this week there’s a cool article on how to use XSLT to transform raw XML data into a DOCX.  The XML source data used in the example is based on HL7, the emerging standard for medical records.  Both articles include complete source code, of course.

Speaking of HL7, Altova’s MapForce product now supports the standard, and Alexander Falk has a blog post about how out works entitled Electronic health records, HL7, and XML data mapping.  Additional information about how to use MapForce with HL7 can be found over on the Altova blog as well.

Zeyad continues to crank out great examples of how to use the Open XML SDK over on Brian Jones’s blog.  His latest include How to Assemble Multiple PowerPoint Decks and Importing Charts from Spreadsheets to Wordprocessing Documents.

Eric White has some new posts on Open XML SDK topics, including Creating a Template Open XML Document in Memory and a brief overview of Cathal Coffey’s “DocX” library (which currently handling string replacement and property-setting).

I  recently attended a web meeting that used Slideshare to share a presentation, and was impressed with how easy it was to use.  I didn’t know at the time that they support Open XML – you can upload a PPTX to Slideshare and share it with others.  Very cool.

Rick Jelliffe’s Concentration at the ODF TC  presents some thoughts and questions about how to best assure a balance of power among competing vendors who are working together on standards development, and Gray Knowlton shares some additional thoughts on related interoperability topics.  In anticipation of the question, I can tell you that our approach has been to take care to avoid having more than two Microsoft voting members on the ODF TC.  This means I have to sleep in on some Mondays (the calls are at 7AM our time) to be sure to not accidentally acquire voting rights, a personal sacrifice I’m glad to make.

Have you ever wondered how the ODF translator deals with formulas?  Annerose Hümbert explains the details of how it works in V3.0 over on the translator team blog.  I couldn’t agree more with this quote: “users are not really interested in what is part of a standard and what not.”

Finally, Peter Sefton has a thought-provoking post on custom XML and interoperability.  It’s worth reading carefully, and you can follow the links to find several other perspectives on the topic, comprising a web of conversations that started with Glyn Moody’s post.  Is custom XML an insidious plot to limit document interoperability?  I don’t think so (shocker, eh?), but I think it’s great to see people with so much experience and expertise debating document interoperability topics.

By the way, this is my first post written with Windows Live Writer.  I like it – simple, straightforward install and configuration, and everything is intuitive and quick.  I’ve always been a Notepad kind of guy, and it’s still my all-time favorite productivity application, but I’ve recently moved to Windows 7 and decided it just doesn’t look right to be writing blog posts in Notepad on Windows 7.  A slave to fashion, I am.