Open XML Links

Here are a few links to recent news of interest to Open XML developers ...

Package Explorer Update. The open-source Package Explorer utility for Open XML documents is available in a new version that adds some useful features. Read about the details on Wouter's blog, or download it here. One of the best new features is file association for Office's extensions (DOCX, etc.), so that you have Package Explorer as an option when you right-click a file. If you're doing many Open XML demos (say, maybe you work in DPE :-)), this feature is quite useful as a slick alternative to renaming a file to .ZIP to show what's inside it.

XML mapping with Word and Sharepoint. The Word team blog has two posts on how Sharepoint document library properties can be mapped to content controls in a DOCX. This is a great example of the type of integration scenarios that content controls enable, with true two-way synchronization between the document library and the documents themselves. It's a two part post, and there are screencasts on Channel 9 that go with each post. Here are the links:

part 1 (with Travis Ratnam) screencast
part 2 (with Ahmed Amani) screencast

Converting HTML to Open XML. Muthu Kumar Arjunan's article "Exporting HTML data into SpreadsheetML" on the Open XML Developer web site shows how to convert HTML table data into an XLS or XLSX file. Muthu's approach builds on John Tunnicliffe's excellent open-source ExcelPackage API.

altChunk explained. Brian Jones has a post on his blog where he clears up some of the confusion around the use of Open XML's altChunk element. The concept is pretty simple: Open XML consumers can optionally render alternative format chunks of content if they want, to make it easy for developers to migrate other formats forward into Open XML. It's one of those features that's good news for developers but bad news for those who want content to stay locked into other formats. And, as Brian acknowledges, it wasn't documented as clearly in the spec as it could have been, hence his detailed explanation.