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perspectives on open-source and web services

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


How nice to be invited in here. Here's my WS comment for the day:

In the raging war between microsoft and massachussets, I hear a lot about XML being an "open enough" standard to provide the interop benefits sought by the commonwealth. This, in my opinion, is a case of trying to buzzword a problem away. So any WS afficionados who are all excited about MS Office XML being the default format for Office 12/Vista, take note:

(disclaimer: I don't pretend to know nearly as much about this as many others do)

-MS XML can contain binary objects that depend on MS Office and Windows.

Which is a pretty uncomfortable fact, w/r/t the Whole Point of webservices, viz: "to exchange data over computer networks like the Internet in a manner similar to inter-process communication on a single computer" (src). That is to say, if Office really wraps up your doc in well-formed XML, it's great 'cause you'll get some sort of response back from any WS that asks about it.

But if the response is -- more or less -- "There's no telling what's in here", then I don't see the big fat advantage. So before we all celebrate the use of XML in Office 12, maybe look closely at how it is used. In my opinion, it's mostly used to keep trendy.

(Yes, if you haven't figured it out I'm the resident raving anti-microsofty here at WS-Comments. Future posts will be more on-topic, though. I promise.)


At 9/27/2005 12:52 PM, Blogger luke said...

I thought it was very on-topic...and I think you're right on. I did not ever look at that aspect of the Office XML formats, but that would definetly be a way for MS to force proprietary and non-interoperable objects into their Office documents.

whether or not that is the tactic by which they attempt to lock-in customers remains yet to be seen. apparently their current tactic, at least in the Mass case, is to whine and cry in response to reasonable objections to their format.

At 9/28/2005 10:28 AM, Blogger Matt Crouch said...

OMG that Yates letter cracked me up.

Y'know what it was? A fifteen-page version of that stupid dialog box that pops up and says "You are about to save in a text-only format, which all computers can read, of course, but BE CAREFUL 'cause it'll probably SCREW UP your document REAL BAD!!!1 Like you might not have Cool Shadows underneath your favorite bullet points etc.!"

At 9/28/2005 10:30 AM, Blogger Matt Crouch said...

oh and speaking of Yates you probably saw this too, but:

Inge Wallin = teh pwn

At 9/28/2005 1:14 PM, Blogger luke said...


"I am sure that you are now much calmer..."

Wallin is great! I can't believe the way Microsoft is approaching this. don't they know they're making themselves look like total idiot assholes?


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