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JTC1/SC34 WG4 appointed Danish expert

On Friday, October 24th the Danish mirror-committee to JTC1/SC34 had its bi-monthly meeting. On the agenda was, amongst other things, assignment of participants to the newly created working groups in JTC1/SC34, WG4 and WG5.

For those of you not familiar with the establishment of these two groups, WG4 will deal with maintenance and development of OOXML. WG5 will work to "Develop principles of, and guidelines for, interoperability among documents represented using heterogeneous ISO/IEC document file formats." So the latter WG is not really about translating between document formats such as ODF and OOXML. No, it is about creating some guidelines that all (future or present) document formats could use as inspiration when designing the formats to be "interoperable".

I think the prospects of this could be really, really good and I hope as many stakeholders as possible chooses to join the work. It would be great to have som kind of guidelines for interoperability comparable to the Accessibility-guidelines from W3C (those that was added to OOXML during the BRM in Geneva).

We did not get any confirmed pledges to participate from the members of the Danish committee, but I was very pleased to hear that both ORACLE Denmark as well as the Technical University of Denmark would investigate if they could join the working group.

More interesting to me was assignment of participants for Working Group 4 to develop and maintain OOXML. Not surprisingly (since most of the participants of the committee are much more "anti-OOXML" than "pro-ODF" this point of the agenda received far less attention. We have in CIBER Denmark discussed for quite some time if we should join the working group, and we have reached the conclusion that we would. We do this of the following reasons:

  1. We believe that we would be able to deliver some technical skills that would be valuable to the work around OOXML
  2. We believe that it is important that development and maintenance of OOXML is not done exclusively by ECMA under the "ISO brand" and
  3. we believe that it is important to create a Danish "foot-print" on the development of the document format
So when the committee was asked if anyone would join, CIBER stepped up to the plate. I am happy to say that both the potential commitment of ORACLE Denmark and Technical University of Denmark and the confirmed commitment from CIBER received unanimous support from the other committee members.

So now what?

well, the first draft of the agenda for the meeting in Okinawa has been posted on the SC34-website. At present the agenda is this:

Draft agenda

  1. Opening - 2009-01-28 10:00
  2. Roll call of Delegates
  3. Adoption of the Agenda
  4. Defect Reports
  5. Any other business
  6. Closing

I think we will also talk about what to actually do in the foreseeable future both with respect to handling of defect reports and future maintenance. One of the things I will not accept (and I hope nor will the other appointed experts) is that the working group will primarily focus our time on defect handling - all while ECMA works on new stuff for OOXML and eventually dumping this on our table. So we will need to establish some sort of agreement around this.

Also we will need to talk about future places to meet. Next meeting will likely be held in Pragh, and I would like to some how make sure that future meetings are held in cities near major airport hubs around the world. It will take me about 24 hours to travel from Copenhagen to Okinawa, and that travel period would be cut in two, if the meeting was held in e.g. Tokyo or Kyoto. This is not a criticisme of the Japaneese decision to have the meeting in Okinawa, but I believe we would indirectly encourage more participation if the required travelling was not so extensive.

Oh ... and did anyone notice that I was only mentioned in the "Small news"-section of Alex Brown's recent post "More Standards news"? This really helps keeping both feet solidly on the ground and not thinking too much of myself.


Comments (6) -

I hope to see extension proposals from many member bodies and liaisons.
Such proposals are always welcome.  I also welcome defect reports very
much.  But I do not know when can WG4 start discussing extensions.  

I am sorry if Okinawa causes troubles to you.  However, Okinawa is more
convenient than Tokyo for some Asian countries, since there is a direct
flight from Hong Kong.  This option might be more convenient for you too.

Logistical information is not ready yet, but this
might be useful.



Okinawa is in itself not a big deal - just trying to avoid too much latency in various airports along the way. Booking the trip to Kyoto was a walk in the park compared to getting to Okinawa Smile

But don't worry ... I'll definetely be there.

And in other news: the Danish mirror comittee is currently investigating if the 168 Danish proposals have been correctly implemented in the spec. We anticipate that we will finish sometime mid January so we'll have the results for the WG4-meeting in Okinawa.

Do you know if any national bodies have gone through a verification of the responses "Response 24" through "Response 30" (the ones dealing with error in spreadsheet fucntions?

I am happy to hear that the Danish mirror committee is scrutinizing the final text and am looking forward to defect reports from Denmark.  Japan is likely to send more defect reports soon.

I am afraid that I do not know if other member bodies are reviewing the responses 24 through 30.

"I think the prospects of this could be really, really good and I hope as many stakeholders as possible chooses to join the work." - I totally agree. This project does sound like it has genuine potential for success.

With regards to meeting destinations - I find that it's best to organise such events to be held in 'hubs' as you say, but not in the major capitals such as London, Paris, Berlin etc. As people are put off by the price factor of staying in these locations.

This is very good for the future prospect if more stakeholders join then they will definately will be under pressure

Comments are closed