ODF, OOXML and now, UOF. This story broke back in November, with some good coverage including:
- Andy Updegrove: Another Open Document Format – From China and More on China’s Uniform Office Format (and much more)
- Jeff Kaplan: Is China Pulling a Bill Gates on ODF?
- David Berlind: China’s own document standard: A clear message to US IT vendors?
- Rick Jelliffe: Why China’s UOF is good
- Stephen Walli: Open Standards, IPR and Innovation Conference, Beijing (2006)
- Neil McAllister: China aims to set a new office doc standard
- Luyi Chen: China’s Own Office Document Format Aiming to Harmonize with ODF
- Evan Leibovitch: Debate over document formats not just academic
There is not much commentary I can add to what the above authors have already stated. Let’s just say that this is an important and exciting development.
On the technical side there is some important progress on harmonization, some preparatory work done in a joint research program between Peking University and IBM. The results of this year-long effort are now available:
- A 150-page report (in English and Chinese) called “A Comparison Between ODF and UOF”. This document compares the two standards feature-by-feature and explains how to map data between the two.
- A UOF-ODF Convertor, an open source Java-based tool, licensed under the LGPL, which provides bi-directional conversions of the three office document types (word processor, spreadsheet and presentation).
The report, the tool, the source code and a lot more information is available up at the project’s page on SourceForge. I hope this both addresses the immediate-term interoperability needs between ODF and UOF, as well as lays the foundation for a deeper technical discussion of additional harmonization steps which can be taken to improve interoperability even further.