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Office Open XML SDK to be Released Soon

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Microsoft has announced that it will release the OOXML SDK despite the fact that ISO did not approve OOXML as an open standard last September. In a recent move intended to get the approval of the OOXML standard, Microsoft has received a positive vote from InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) which represents US in the ISO committee. A second round of voting is to take place within ISO during May. Microsoft has been pushing the OOXML since the government requires open standard document formats for the applications used throughout its agencies.

The CTP 1 of the OOXML SDK was released on June 2007, and a second and last CTP version is to be released next month, while the final SDK 1.0 version is to be released during May. A following 2.0 version will be available as CTP this summer while the final version will be released as part of Office 14. Here is the complete roadmap of the SDK.

According to Doug Mahugh, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, version 1.0 will include the following functionality:

  • Strongly typed access to parts within Open XML documents (a few typical examples: classes for the main body part or style part of a word-processing document, the workbook and worksheet parts in a spreadsheet document, or the presentation and slide parts in a presentation document)
  • Simple access to the parts within an Open XML document, relative to other existing APIs (example: one line of code to retrieve or replace a part)
  • “Linq-friendly” annotation capabilities, to allow developers to use the SDK with emerging Linq to XML technology 
  • Consistency and naming changes per feedback from the developer community since the June 2007 CTP version, including adherence to .NET naming conventions
  • The May 2008 RTW (released to web) version will be ready to go live, and developers can build shipping products on it

The 2.0 version will add the following functionality:

  • Content object model including additional classes and methods for simplifying developer work within parts (example: methods for retrieving or modifying a specific paragraph, style, cell, or shape within a part)
  • Search functionality, for simple searching of content in all document types
  • Validation functionality, to verify that modified or created documents are compliant with the Open XML standard
  • High-level “scenario-based” functionality (examples: creating a document from a template, accepting all revisions in a document)
  • Shared ML functionality (example: classes for DrawingML chart parts and other parts that can appear in multiple document types)

Basically, the SDK allows the developers to write applications which can open, read, write or create Office documents using the OOXML. Since the OOXML standard may change in the near future to fulfill various specifications requested by ISO for its approval, Microsoft is promising to update the SDK in order to reflect the standard. The SDK will be made available for free.

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