tools for document interoperability


This is the web diary for nfoWorks and realization of the Harmony Principles. Pursuing Harmony tracks nfoWorks research, analysis, specification, and implementation of tools for document interoperability. There is commentary on related activities that address conformance, interoperability, and harmonization of document formats.

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The Real Challenge of Achieving and Sustaining Int...
Let’s Try This for a While
Hooptedoodle: Blog Aversion and Standards Ignoranc...
ODF Implementation-Support Toolkits and Libraries
Adding Pursuing Harmony to Technorati
Office Shots for Confirmed ODF Interchange Fidelit...
ODF Interoperability at The Hague
ODF and IPR/Licensing Concerns
Open Government Data: Simple Principles

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Millennia Antica Pottery
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nfoWorks: Tools for Document Interoperability
NuovoDoc: Design for Document System Interoperability
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TROST: Open-System Trustworthiness



ODF Implementation-Support Toolkits and Libraries

I have no appraisal of the relative maturity and quality of the various toolkits that are emerging on the ODF scene (and likewise with regard to OOXML).  However, it is important to have a cataloging of what there is.  This is a random start.  I will add to this post and build an nfoWorks catalog page later:

  • lpOD: languages & platforms OpenDocument Project (also Français). 
    Definition of a Free Software API implementing the ISO/IEC 26300 standard.
    Development, for higher level use cases, in Python, Perl and Ruby languages.
    of a top-down oriented API.  Licensing is under Free Software Foundation (FSF) versions.

My interest

An important resource for ways to harmonize document formats involves attention to the libraries and models employed for constructing document-centric software and their applications.  This applies for the development of testing and conformance tools as well as for implementation of format-supporting software products.  Indeed, one might reasonably expect that such tools would be a companion demonstration of implementation-support quality.

In the interesting case of OpenDocument Format, the availability of open-source code bases for implementations is both a risk (in that deviations or omissions in support for the standards is are perpetuated through code mimicry) and an opportunity for faster tooling and testing.  Of course, closed-source implementations (and related toolkits) have their own dangers in this regard, while denying public inspection of the code.  I suspect that implementation notes are required in all cases to ensure understanding of intentions and interpretations as well as limitations and the different ways that discretionary matters are handled.

For ODF, the continuing work on toolkits and on independent open-source implementations is providing important diversity.  This can inform the search for a harmonious profile and perhaps suggest adaptations that encourage harmonious implementations.  Diversity across platforms and programming models may also help in the recognition and abstraction of essentials away from implementation incidentals.  That can also be valuable in ensuring that harmonization is on essentials and not accidents of implementation.

I will be reviewing available toolkits, libraries, and APIs as I define my own around interface contracts for abstracted levels of document models and processing support.  I expect some cross-fertilization while adhering to a model that is concentrated on harmony.

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ODF Interoperability at The Hague

There’s a great event at The Hague these two days: June 15-16, 2009.  It’s all about OpenDocument Format (ODF) and interoperability

It is sponsored by a neutral (ODF-supporting) organization. It is attended by major implementers of ODF-supporting products, including IBM, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems.

In short, all of the right people are in the same room, some for the first time, and I am so envious that I am not among them.  There should be a great deal of creative tension.

I will be watching for materials and progress reports.  There is already Doug Mahugh’s useful pre-event post on how Microsoft tested the ODF implementation in Office 2007 SP2 to ensure that it only produced standard-conforming documents and failed in ways that did not introduce security exploits against the Office System or documents of its users.

I have been meaning to post more about my involvement with ODF and how it is fueled by my interest in the harmonious level at which we can start and expand interoperability based around standard, open formats for office-productivity applications.  I will do that separately.  For now, I just want to register my excitement for the positive stage that participation at this meeting represents.

[Update 2009-06-16-18:56Z There are little odds and ends available from the ODF Plugfest so far, and I will compile some links here for safe-keeping.  I am sure there will be additional blog posts and reports by more attendees after they have had some time for reflection]

[Update 2009-06-17-17:11Z with a few more straggling in]

[Update 2009-06-18-17:51Z as other posts show up]

[Update 2009-06-23-14:55Z with some stragglers]

[Update 2009-06-24-18:55Z and one more interesting appraisal]

  • 2009-06-23 Sven Langkamp: ODF Plugfest.  (blog post) Sven’s Blog.  Useful perspective regarding participation by KOffice, an independent implementation of the ODF specification.

[Update 2009-06-27-21:40Z and the hits keep on coming …]

[Update 2009-07-01-15:25Z wrapping up, with anything more on plugfests in future posts]

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Content Assembly for nfoWorks?

Also from the Cover Pages: XML Daily Newslink for 2008-10-14, there is word of jCAM, an open-source, Java-based CAM XML Processor and Template Editor.  The SourceForge Project has the software; the web site has more information and tutorials.

The focus of the OASIS Content Assembly Mechanism (CAM) TC is on information management of XML documents used for business transactions.  What attracts my attention is that

“The vision of the CAM work is for describing machine-processable information content flows into and out of XML structures … .”

Some of the lingo is opaque to me, but I do have interest in automated approaches that involve

  • integration with metadata semantics
  • registration of metadata vocabularies
  • documentation of information exchange formats
  • validation of transaction instances
  • runtime creation of valid transaction documents

I may have problems in the validation and filtering of documents and test suites that are not at the proper scale for CAM.  I do think it is worth examining for ideas and applicable techniques.  This is my placeholder reminder for that.

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