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I love the smell of ODF in the morning

I have a short ODF trio to share with you today.

First up, Jomar Silva brings us the happy news that Venezuela now mandates the use of ODF, joining Uraguay, Brazil and 14 other national governments that have adopted the International Standard for office documents.

BrowserShots.org has been part of my web design toolkit for some time now. It allows me to easily test a web page to see how it renders on a wide range of browsers and platforms, without having to personally maintain a dozen different machine and configurations on my desk. You enter a URL and click off which of 50+ different browser versions you want your page rendered on. The system then queues up your requests, farms them out to various machines that render the pages and return screen shot images (PNG format) of the results. You get some results almost immediately, while others might take 30 minutes.

I’ve recently received news that this same concept is now being applied to ODF documents in a new project called OfficeShots. Funded by the Dutch government and the OpenDoc Society, this project (not quite yet ready for beta) will:

[H]elp you make a better choice by letting you compare the output and other behavior of a wide variety of applications. Does your corporate style – the technical basis for many documents – actually look consistent across the board of applications – from OpenOffice.org 3.0, Adobe Buzzword and Symphony 1.2 to Microsoft Office 2000 with the ODF addin from Microsoft – or the one from Sun Microsystems? And how does it look on Mac OS X in iWork? When you are in an acquisition phase, officeshots.org will help you do a reality check if that fancy new open source suite or that productivity package you can get a bargain deal at – actually does what it says. On the spot.

This is a great idea and I look forward to seeing it in operation.

Finally, if you also have some ODF project ideas, then be sure to note that the NLnet Foundation has named ODF as one of its two focus areas for 2009 and that they are accepting project proposals for funding. So get out that digital pencil and start writing down ideas.

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