The OpenXmlDeveloper.org web site was announced this morning by Bill Gates during his keynote presentation at the Microsoft Office Developer's Conference. The site is the home for a new community, the Open XML Developer Group. This group is dedicated to helping its members developer software that supports the Open XML Formats on a wide variety of platforms.

The Open XML Formats are currently going through the Ecma standards process, and the complete schemas are not yet available. There are no technical articles that have been published yet (other than blog posts, some of which are great), and there are no books out on Open XML Formats development yet.

So in the short term, this site will be about empowering developers to get started on their Open XML Formats projects and get their questions answered in the absence of widely available reference materials. Our goal will be to help developers work with the formats right now, through sharing of code samples, white papers, workspace projects, and links to other resources.

In the long term, the site will be a place where Open XML Formats developers can share best practices and openly discuss and debate the issues and options surrounding Open XML Formats software development. We'll have plenty of discussion right here on the site, and we'll also find a way to get together from time to time for face-to-face meetings. And we're making it up as we go, so every member of this community has an opportunity to influence the evolution of the Open XML Developer Group.

How you Can Participate

Anyone can browse the site and look around, but if you want to post comments, start threads in the forums, or upload content to the site, you'll need to join. It's easy: just click Join at the top of the page and get started. All you need to sign up is a valid email address — everything else is optional. Of course, we'd love to know who you are and were you work, and you'll see that most of the community members have identified themselves, but that's entirely up to you.

After you're a member, you can post comments and start threads. feel free to post questions about aspects of Open XML Formats development that you'd like to understand better, or suggestions for content on the site. If you'd like to submit content for the News, Library, or Workspaces sections of the site, please see the Submission Policy.

What to Expect

Many people are working on utilities, white papers, code samples, and other material for this site, and you'll see a plenty of new content in the weeks ahead. There's a lot of information being released at the Office Devcon this week, especially in the File Formats track on Tuesday, and some of those presentations, demos, and code samples will be posted here.

In the meantime, if you have suggestions for content, just sign up and post your suggestions in the Forums. We're all listening, and would love to here your ideas. What types of tools do you need to help you work more efficiently with the Open XML Formats? What platforms and languages are you working with? What aspects of the Open XML Formats do you find confusing or unclear based on the information you've seen to date? We want to help in all of those areas, and your questions and suggestions will help us focus our efforts.

Moderation of the Site

I'm the moderator of the site, Doug Mahugh. I work for Microsoft as a technical evangelist, and I've had the pleasure of working closely with some of the talent leading-edge organizations who are working to integrate their software with the Open XML Formats. My goal is simple: to make this site as useful as possible to the developers who are working with Open XML Formats.

If you have any questions, comments, criticisms, praise or other feedback that will make this a better site, please use the Contact form to tell me what's on your mind.