Office 12 Open XML File Formats

For the last couple of months, I‘ve been focusing on
Office 12.

One of the really cool new features is the new Office Open XML
File Formats. When you save a Word Document, it gets saved by default to a file
with a docx extension. One can rename this to .zip and then open the package to
see all the components out of which the document is composed together with the
document properties etcetera. The specifications are open and free for anyone
to use (more here
and here). And
yes, we’ll make sure that you can work with them in a (some) pre-Office
12 versions.

These new file formats are a really important innovation from
a technological perspective as well as from the perspective of Microsoft playing
an important role in the IT industry where we need to compete and act
responsibly at the same time.

The technological aspect is the one that I’m most
passionate about. There are many advantages to having this new file format
ranging from decreased possibility for documents to get corrupted to enabling
applications to easily manipulate documents without needing to automate Word,
Excel or Powerpoint. I’ve built a small sample application to manipulate some
Word documents and at the appropriate time, when Office 12 is sufficiently public,
I’ll post that on this site.

I’m a big believer that as long as we make the right technological
choices, the market will continue to see Microsoft Office as the productivity suite
of choice. There’s plenty of evidence that that is actually the case
today. Some of the evidence comes from the small country I call home: