XML News from Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The KDE Project has released KOffice 1.5, an open source office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, etc.) for Linux. This release now saves files in the XML-based OASIS OpenDocument file format by default. There's an old programmer saying that an additional layer of indirection is the solution to almost any problem. I think it's very important that the OpenDocument forces such an additional layer of idnrection between the WYSIWYG view on the screen and the data on the disk. Traditionally word processors have been far too closely tied to their file formats, and this has led to less than robust products like Microsoft Word and WordPerfect. Irrespective of the XML nature of the format, merely having a common document format that is not tied to any one program is an important step forward. Although OpenDocument started it's life as the OpenOffice file format, there are now two major office suites with independent code bases that use it by default. That should shake out any unintentional couplings between OpenOffice and OpenDocument.