Stephen McGibbon's Web Journal

Ecma Office Open XML File Formats Standard – Status Report - 21 June 2006

Here's June's update (see also May's and April's) from the Ecma International Technical Committee (TC45) which is working to establish an international open standard for Office Open XML File Formats (as described in the TC45 program of work) :-

This week (June 19-21), the committee held its fourth face-to-face meeting in Sapporo, Japan. The meeting was hosted by Toshiba and attended by eighteen participants. The technical agenda included new material on SpreadsheetML, PresentationML, DrawingML, compound documents, and the Open Packaging Convention. The committee reviewed issues and modifications to WordProcessingML as proposed by the committee, and finished resolving substantive issues regarding conformance and interoperability. Highlights of the meeting included presentations by Statoil, BP, and Essilor of methods for visualizing and analyzing the schema interdependencies defining the file format, and demonstrations of Java prototype tools by Toshiba to transform Office Open XML to HTML for viewing in any browser. Ecma has requested liaison with ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 in order to help prepare a possible Open XML submission to ISO/IEC, and SC34 has appointed a liaison officer. The TC45 committee's next face-to-face meeting will be hosted in August by Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.

The technical committee includes representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, and Toshiba. The United States Library of Congress has also recently joined the Ecma TC45 committee. By monitoring and contributing to the formation of this standard, the Library hopes to ensure that office productivity documents created by individuals and organizations using widely available tools can be saved in a form that will remain accessible as technology changes.

The work is in progress, and the participants in Ecma TC45 are providing the reference schema and specification as working documents, for informational purposes only. The contents are subject to change, and may change monthly; a channel is offered to provide technical feedback on the drafts. There is also a technical forum at for developers who are interested in using the Ecma Office Open XML file formats. For general information about Ecma International, please contact Christa Rosatzin-Strobel (

Tom Ngo (NextPage)

The following organizations have participated in the work of Ecma TC45 and their contributions are gratefully acknowledged:

Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, and Toshiba

Available Documents:

[Update] Brian Jones has written about the ECMA meeting  in Sappora too. Brian reports that the U.S. Library of Congress has joined Ecma TC-45.


Alain's Globosphere said:

Remember my last post about ODF?
Things go quite fast in our industry. Indeed, Microsoft has decided...
# July 10, 2006 10:21 AM