Belated Welcome to IBM to the OOXML Party!

Well, it’s not really a belated welcome, as they’ve been with us at the OOXML Party since the beginning, but now it turns out that some of the group that came with them has changed clothes and seen the light about the Office Open XML (OOXML) file formats!  Woo-Hoo!  Welcome back to the party!

The website just released a new web site re-design – check it out.  On the front page, in the news roll-up section, there are references to some new articles about increased support for OOXML.

  • there’s a fun to read ComputerWorld article about IBM’s support for the new file formats! (Hence the title of this post – welcome to the party!)
  • ZDNet has a story about the Burton Group report which recommends the use of the new file formats.

Some other news about IBM in the OOXML arena –

  • Mary Jo Foley – if Mary Jo is talking about it, then you know it will show up in a Press Release in 60-90 days!  IBM, Google quietly supporting OOXML?
  • IBM developerWorks – Manage ODF and Microsoft Office 2007 documents with DB2 9 pureXML
  • IBM DB2 Content Manager v8.4 Clients Support for Office Open XML File Formats
  • IBM WebSphere Portal – Enabling Document Conversion Services
  • IBM Lotus Quickr Support for Microsoft Office 2007 documents

While I admit that I just scanned these articles, and am not a trained developer in these IBM technologies, I didn’t see any mention of instructional steps calling out two myths about developing for Office Open XML.  These myths state (generally) that

  1. Organizations that want to include support for OOXML require help from MSFT to do so, and
  2. There are still IP issues related to sections of the proposed specification that are unresolved (implying that someday MSFT may charge licensing fees).

Well, could it be that because these developer documents don’t instruct developers to call MSFT for help or to negotiate licensing, that the above items really are Myths, and should be included on some "Snopes for OOXML" myth-busting type of web site?  Hey – maybe the Mythbusters would take the subject of OOXML Myths on for an episode?  Anyone know someone at the Mythbusters show that I could talk to?  Are the Ghostbusters still in operation in NYC?

SharePoint End User Training

The SharePoint team at Microsoft has produced and delivered SharePoint training materials for end users.

This training includes documents, examples, step-by-step instructions, videos, interactive training, etc. for the following areas:

  • Collaboration
  • Enterprise Content Management
  • Search
  • Portals and Personalization
  • Business Processes and Forms
  • Business Intelligence

This is available in two versions, one that can be installed on a user’s desktop machine, and one version that is installed on your SharePoint portal site, and delivered via the portal.

Both versions of the training can be downloaded here:

IWC/2008 Conference

I’m going to be speaking at the SharePoint Information Worker Conference 2008 (IWC/2008) conference, which is going to be held Feb 4-6, 2008, in Nashville.

I’m extremely interested in the impact that the Office Open XML (OOXML) file formats are going to have on business, and with the upcoming certification discussion and arguments about the file formats, this seems like a great time to share some of my excitement about the new capabilities that the OOXML file formats provide to business and to developers.

So, if you want to get a great laugh at me on stage, or if you want to learn about the OOXML file formats, please register and stay for the last session of the conference on Wednesday, Feb 6!

There is a GREAT registration special, also, that is going on…  Two registrants from the same organization will receive $1,000 off the registration price.  To take advantage of this offer, visit and enter the code OFF1. (That’s off1 and it isn’t case sensitive).  This results in a savings of $500 off each registration.

See you there!

Ecma Open Office XML Comments Completed Today

All of the 3,522 national body comments for the Ecma Open Office XML file format have been responded to and published today.  The team has been doing a lot of work on this, and I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to glimpse just a bit into this process.  The folks are working extremely hard, but some good work has been accomplished.

These are the proposed dispositions (changes) to the file format specification that are being proposed by TC45 in response to the comments from the national bodies to the first draft.  Here is the press release from Ecma.

Now the next phase starts – or continues, as some of the national bodies have already been tracking in-process dispositions.  The next phase is reconciling the proposed dispositions with each of the comments from the national bodies, in preparation for the Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) which is approaching at the end of February.

MOSS Intranet Design Award Winner – New Zealand Ministry of Transport

The Nielsen Norman Group’s "Intranet Design Annual 2008: Year’s Ten Best Intranets" contest has announced their winners and produced a report describing their selections.  See the web site and download the report here.

One of the winners was built on the MOSS platform – the New Zealand Ministry of Transport.

Chandima Kulathilake has posted up some details and a couple of screen shots about the implementation and design of this site.

The use of silverlight to help with the display of survey results was interesting, and the tag management stuff was really cool.

History of the Erie Canal

I’ve been fascinated with the history of the Erie Canal since 1996, when I lived briefly with relatives in Victor, NY, and then moving the family into a home in Macedon, NY.  Macedon is a town that lies along the canal, East of Rochester, and West of Palmyra, NY.

New York State has published a history of the Canals, and I think these short documents are worth the time to read and understand their fabulous history, and the contribution to the growth of New York state and of America during the 1800s.

The Erie Canal grew into the New York State Barge Canal and now is named the New York State Canal System.

The Erie Canal: A Brief History (2 Pages) HTML / PDF

The Story of the New York State Canals (28 pages) HTML / PDF

(Below is an excerpt from the above…  see the actual article for copyright information)



“As a bond of union between the Atlantic and Western states, it may prevent the dismemberment of the American Empire. As an organ of communication between the Hudson, the Mississippi, the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes of the north and west and their tributary rivers, it will create the greatest inland trade ever witnessed. The most fertile and extensive regions of America will avail themselves of its facilities for a market. All their surplus productions, whether of the soil, the forest, the mines, or the water, their fabrics of art and their supplies of foreign commodities, will concentrate in the city of New York, for transportation abroad or consumption at home. Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, trade, navigation, and the arts will receive a correspondent encouragement. The city will, in the course of time, become the granary of the world, the emporium of commerce, the seat of manufactures, the focus of great moneyed operations and the concentrating point of vast disposable, and accumulating capita, which will stimulate, enliven, extend and reward the exertions of human labor and ingenuity, in all their processes and exhibitions. And before the revolution of a century, the whole island of Manhattan, covered with inhabitants and replenished with a dense population, will constitute one vast city.”

UCH was Clinton’s dream concerning the original Erie Canal—the canal which seems so small to us not but which was the Grand Canal of our forefathers—the canal which for many years was the model for canal-building throughout the world—the canal which more than any other single agency was responsible for the unprecedented development and prosperity that came not alone to New York State but to the states beyond its western border and even to the whole country in the first half of the nineteenth century. When Clinton wrote these words they seemed to many as the vain imaginings of a most visionary dreamer. But the dream came true, and every loyal New Yorker has reason to feel pride in that the canals have done for his State.