Weeks of links for 10-20-2008

I've fallen a few weeks behind on posting links to various articles and blog posts, so this post is a bit long. As you can see, the world of document format interoperability has been humming along irregardless of my inattention ...

pivot table generated by Monarch Version 10

Monarch v10 released. Datawatch announced today the release of Version 10 of their flagship report mining and analysis tool, Monarch. They have continued to improve Monarch's ability to read and write XLSX files, and features of the latest release include all-new pivot-table support, read/write support for XLSM format, and read support for the XPS format. Behind the scenes, they've also moved from custom packaging code to the Open XML SDK, and they've been providing us with valuable feedback on what developers need from Open XML dev tools.

Getting an education in standards. Patrick Durusau has started series of posts on how to participate in standards process. The first post, My Standards Education, takes a look at some of the largest standards organizations and how you can get involved; his next post will cover how to learn the rules after you join a standards organization.

Alex Brown on standards reform. Not to be outdone by Patrick, Alex has also started an ambitious series of blog posts recently, on his suggestions for reform/evolution of international standards organizations. His first post on JTC 1 reform prompted a discussion of how standards work relates to nuclear fission and pub meetings, and his second post offers some thoughts on Webbifying the Standardisation Process.

Julien Chable in Anglais. Julien has started doing some posts in English, which really saves me a lot of copying and pasting to translation services. Here are two of interest to Open XML developers:

  • Source code for a flexible ToSpreadsheetML method that writes an IEnumerable instance to an XLSX file, converting each property to a column of string values.
  • A handy installer for the Open XML Power Tools, which means you can use the Power Tools on a server that doesn't have Visual Studio installed. (On a related note, check out Roger Bermudez's interesting use of the Power Tools to generate bulk email.)

Information about the Open XML SDK. Zeyad Rajabi, the program manager for the Open XML SDK, is doing a series of guest posts on Brian Jones's blog about the SDK:

SpreadsheetGear design surface in Visual Studio

SpreadhseetGear announces Open XML support. Speaking of Open XML dev tools, SpreadsheetGear has announced enhanced supprt for Open XML and the XLSX format. The latest release of SpreadsheetGear allows developers to build dynamic dashboards in Excel and then generate ASP.NET or Windows forms applications based on those dashboards.

Developer tips from Eric White. Eric has posted several useful how-to articles on Open XML developer topics lately:

Converting DOCX to XAML. Michael Scherotter's Word 2007 XAML Generator was released on Codeplex last month. It's a Word plug-in that converts a document to XAML for use in WPF or Silverlight applications, with complete source code provided.

Adoption of document formats. Gray Knowlton has revisited an interesting topic: adoption data for Open XML and ODF formats.

Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS). CMIS, a new standard for integration of ECM (enterprise content management) systems was jointly announced by Microsoft, EMC and IBM last month. This is an area where we're going to see a lot of action in the years ahead, as system like SharePoint become more pervasive in large organizations and users come to expect their document libraries and workflows to work seamlessly across applications and platforms. Ethan Gur-esh provides an overview of how and why CMIS has been developed, and Ryan Duguid has a good summary on the SharePoint team blog.

Reading Excel files from Linux. Chris Rae, one of the funniest people I know, has an interesting post on the Excel team blog about how to process XLSX files with Perl. I forgot to link to him because the post came out during my summer vacation, but it's a great example of how open tools can be used to solve a business problem when the data resides in a standardized XML format such as Open XML.

Last call for DII workshop this week. We're hosting a DII workshop in Redmond this Thursday and Friday, and there's still time to get in if you'd like to hear about how Office is approaching Open XML document interoperability and meet other implementers to discuss various interop topics. Chris Rae (above) is one of several Office PMs who will be presenting, and we'll also have presentations from non-Microsoft Open XML developers and architects, roundtable discussions, access to Office 2007 SP2 (for testing ODF interop, among other things), and a hosted dinner on Thursday evening. The workshop is free, so contact me if you'd like to attend and I'll get you on the list.