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The Disharmony of OOXML

Mar 17, 2008, 20:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rob Weir)

"I sometimes hear it said that formats like OOXML, or ODF for that matter, are simply XML serializations of a particular application's native data representation. This is said, seemingly, in an attempt to justify quirky or outright infelicitous representations. 'We had no choice. Office 95 represents line widths in units of 1/5th of a barleycorn, so OOXML must as well.' This technological determinism indicates poor engineering judgment, laziness, or both.

"An easy counter-example is HTML. Does HTML reflect the internals of NCSA Mosaic? Does it represent the internals of Netscape Navigator? Firefox? Opera? Safari? Are any faults in HTML justified by what a single browser does internally? Applications should follow standards, not the other way around..."

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