Office Open XML fails to win ISO approval (so far)

This week Microsoft failed to win ISO approval for the Office Open XML (OOXML) standard in the 2nd round of the ISO standardization process. While the Wall Street Journal published a critical article about this, this is by no means the end of the road, nor is it even a major setback - the ISO process commonly requires multiple rounds, and the 3rd round (expected for early 2008) will very likely see Office Open XML becoming an ISO standard.

As Burton Group analyst Peter O'Kelly observes in his blog: "FWIW I still expect Open XML to become an ISO standard -- and it's reassuring to see the spec/design improved by the standardization process." - I couldn't agree more.

Irrespective of the timeline of this ISO standardization process, I expect OOXML to quickly become a de-facto standard as more and more corporations and enterprises upgrade from Office XP or 2003 to Office 2007 and start generating tons of documents in the new OOXML formats (which is the default setting for new Office 2007 file).

Having all these Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, etc. available in OOXML lays the groundwork for a huge increase in content reuse and repurposing, because the data - being XML - can now be accessed through other applications, transformed through stylesheets, and integrated with other enterprise data.

To get started with OOXML, software developers can simply open OOXML documents in XMLSpy and start working with the XML data inside, then use XMLSpy to create and debug XSLT 2.0 stylesheets that directly access the OOXML data through the AltovaXML processing engine.