Open XML links for 06-01-2007

Spreadsheet formatting. Brian Jones's post on "Simple SpreadsheetML file Part 3 - Formatting" is a great tutorial on how to format cells in Open XML spreadsheets. The basic concept is that you define various fonts, fills, and borders in the styles part, then group those together in various combinations as direct-formatting records, and each cell has a simple integer reference to its associated direct-formatting record. This minimizes the markup within the body of the worksheet, and keeps all the presentation details separate from the data.

Embedded documents. Godha's latest OpenXmlDeveloper article, "Extracting embedded spreadsheets from WordprocessingML documents," covers a tool that can be used to extract embedded XLSX files from DOCX files. It's nice to be able to embed entire Open XML documents inside one another, but if you might want to extract those embedded documents this tool is a lot handier than renaming to .ZIP and doing it manually. It's also a tutorial on some of the details of the packaging convention and relationships.

British Library perspective on Open XML. Adam Farquhar of the British Library has a document over on the UK's BSI wiki that covers some of the benefits of the Open XML format from a librarian/archivist point of view, including high-fidelity migration from the legacy binary formats and enabling new applications through custom schema support. He also offers some clear explanation of why the binary formats should be avoided, and points out that "innvation [in document formats] is not over."

Open XML API for Java developers. I first saw Julien Chable's open-source Java API project in Paris last year when it was in the early stages, and the project has continued to grow and evolve. Julien has a post this week announcing the rollout of the project web site. Julien's post is in French, but English speakers can learn more on the roadmap page of the OpenXML4J web site.

Johannesburg Open XML workshop. Yesterday I led an Open XML master class over at University of the Witwatersrand, the largest university here in Johannesburg. We had a variety of perspectives among the attendees: ISV developers, managers, students, and others. I was so busy trying to pack all of the content from our multi-day workshops into a single day that I forgot to take any pictures, but here are a few pictures I took afterward, including the Chamber of the Mines building where the workshop took place ...