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Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 02:41 AM CDT

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The Future of ODF and OOXML
Authored by: overshoot on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 05:54 PM CDT
Someone said (Weir?) that the worst nightmare for Microsoft would be if OOXML was approved now, and someone wrote a comprehensive, detailed, conformance test that gained widespread acceptance. Of course, given all the defects in OOXML and the imperfections in the future MSOffice support, Microsoft would have a hard time convincing governments that Office even conformed to the standard.

(Raises hand)

Yup -- however, let's not get too excited.  The conformance clauses to DIS-29500 are such that it's very difficult to not comply on paper.  You only have to be able to read a conformant file without crashing and write it back out again, so even cp is technically compliant.  That is, after all, the objective: to have a euphemism for "Microsoft Office" without flagrantly violating the government purchasing requirements.
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The Future of ODF and OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 10:07 PM CDT
Err, but there are published schemas which state which elements and attributes are allowed, in which positions and usages, and what the values of properties are supposed to be.  (And the use of BNF for formulaes, etc. means that it is not difficult to validate those things as well.)

So for document conformance, the XML documents can be validated *now* with W3C XSD, and there will be ISO RELAX NG schemas as well.  Test suites only need to be made for the things that the schemas do not express.

If there are more tricky constraints, the newer generation of more powerful rule-based schema languages such as ISO Schematron can be used. SC34 has been developing these languages in part to reduce the number of constraints that must be expressed in plain text in a standard without an automated way to verify them.

For application conformance, that is a much more difficult issue, and it is something that all these standards have a problem with. (Which is why SC34 prefers to concentrate on document conformance rather than application conformance.)

Traditionally, test suite creation and testing is performed by different bodies than ISO/IEC. E.g. NIST in the US.  They have skills and budgets in this area.

Rick Jelliffe
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