The Disharmony of OOXML

“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…”