Here's an interesting development (anyone for pun-free Fridays?)
The viewer allows you to pan through Open XML documents using Silverlight 2.0 runtime. (Get the details from the developer here) Much like the current viewers for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, TextGlow requires no paid-for product, only to install the Silverlight 2.0 runtime. This is a Microsoft Office-free rendering of Open XML documents.
"TextGlow is a unique product combining Office Open XML and Silverlight for the first time," says Chris Auld, Intergen's Director of Strategy and Innovation.
"Microsoft Office documents have traditionally required software to be installed on the local machine. The new XML- based file format, coupled with Silverlight, has allowed us to make documents viewable directly through users' web browsers. Having an internationally documented standard such as Office Open XML allows innovative New Zealand companies such as Intergen to reach a global audience," says Mr Auld."
I had the pleasure of attending a Standards New Zealand Open XML workshop last year, where I met Chris and had the chance to chat with him during the breaks. (I'm a bit amused recalling a discussion where the folks in the room discussing intellectual property issues all had to preface their comments with "I am not an attorney but…[I am going to interpret IP law like I am one anyway]…" Chris, as I recall, does have a background in IP law, so he was unique among his peers in offering some thoughts about bogus claims of Open XML IP risks.)
During that workshop, several developers in the room claimed that implementing Open XML was not possible by New Zealand (or more to the point, non-Microsoft) companies. (Worth noting that one of the companies making these claims already had a full implementation of VML in its "Maps" product.) Another of these companies eventually implemented Open XML in a handful of its products, to the chagrin of Bob Sutor and Rob Weir.
It is great to see Chris and Intergen offer this viewer. I suspect this should have a good silencing effect in New Zealand, because this is such a great example of how Open XML and the compatibility it brings is a boost to local economies, it is also a testament to the openness of the spec. Not only will I use this in discussions around the world when highlighting Open XML, I am also recommending this tool to our account teams in need of document viewing solutions. I'm also hopeful that the participation of Intergen in the broader Open XML community will bring them fame and fortune as well. (After all, building community is the point, is it not?)
I guess this is pretty clear evidence that New Zealand companies can successfully implement Open XML. It's a good reminder to me that when we look at facts rather than reading fiction, we can interpret the "nobody can implement Open XML" claims as more of "I can't" than "nobody can."
In case you want to read more about Text Glow: