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Microsoft announces Open XML SDK roadmap

Microsoft announces Open XML SDK roadmap

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Microsoft unveiled today the roadmap for the Open XML SDK that was released last June as a CTP (Community Technology Preview) version. After collecting developer feedback through the CTP release, they've put together a two-phased release plan to get developers a released version of the API quickly (May of this year) and then build on that with additional functionality for a final version in the Office 14 timeframe.

Links to resources for this article:

Open XML SDK roadmap: timeline

The Open XML API will be released in two versions. Version 1.0 will include an updated version of the CTP that was released in June 2007, to be released in April 2008 with a final release of Version 1.0 in May 2008. Version 2.0 will be available as a CTP version this summer, and the final release will be part of the Office 14 wave of products and technologies. (Office "14" is the next major release of Microsoft Office.)

Both versions will be free downloads on MSDN, available at the Open XML SDK page. Version 1.0 will include the following functionality:

  • Strongly typed access to parts within Open XML documents (a few typical examples: classes for the main body part or style part of a word-processing document, the workbook and worksheet parts in a spreadsheet document, or the presentation and slide parts in a presentation document)
  • Simple access to the parts within an Open XML document, relative to other existing APIs (example: one line of code to retrieve or replace a part)
  • “Linq-friendly” annotation capabilities, to allow developers to use the SDK with emerging Linq to XML technology (Eric White's blog has a code sample demonstrating this capability)
  • Consistency and naming changes per feedback from the developer community since the June 2007 CTP version, including adherence to .NET naming conventions
  • The May 2008 RTW (released to web) version will be ready to go live, and developers can build shipping products on it

Version 2.0 will add the following capabilities:

  • Content object model including additional classes and methods for simplifying developer work within parts (example: methods for retrieving or modifying a specific paragraph, style, cell, or shape within a part)
  • Search functionality, for simple searching of content in all document types
  • Validation functionality, to verify that modified or created documents are compliant with the Open XML standard
  • High-level “scenario-based” functionality (examples: creating a document from a template, accepting all revisions in a document)
  • Shared ML functionality (example: classes for DrawingML chart parts and other parts that can appear in multiple document types)

The functionality in this roadmap was driven by feedback received from developers since the CTP release last June. A recurring theme was that developers want more tools to help edit and manipulate the underlying XML within the parts, and this is reflected in new methods that will be included in the content object model, as well as Linq-related changes as mentioned above.

For more detailed information about what's coming in the Open XML SDK, see Jean-Christophe Cimetiere's video interview with Zeyad Rajabi and Eric White where they discuss the changes in the SDK and show some of the details of how it will work.

To download the latest version of the SDK or for links to more information, see the Open XML SDK page on MSDN.

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