Tuesday, August 2, 2005

eZ publish Extension Supports OASIS OpenDocument Standard

eZ systems just announced an extension for eZ publish that will support the OASIS Open Document Standard. The OpenDocument standard was approved in May 2005 and establishes an XML based format for office type applications (word processor, spreadsheet, etc.) that will increase the accessibility and re-usability of documents used within the enterprise. Read more here and here. OpenDocument is very close to the format developed by Open Office and, I think, is the missing link between the way we work today and our vision of a content managed world of re-usable, highly structured assets. Of course, this all depends on Microsoft's cooperation on adopting this or some structured XML format (promised with the next release of Office).

The eZ publish OpenDocument Extension accepts files in OpenDocument, Microsoft Word, and RTF and uses a WebDAV interface to upload documents via drag and drop. From eZ publish, content can be automatically exported into the OpenDocument format using OpenOffice templates.

I have had a lot of conversations about Open Office recently. The key issue is "what's the point." My view is that OpenOffice could turn into the preferred authoring interface used by open source and proprietary content management systems. This would put them at the level of Microsoft which is integrating Office with several of their server side technologies (like MCMS and SharePoint) to create a collaborative workspace using desktop applications. Of course, Microsoft has a huge advantage in market share and you just can't sell a product without at least a claim of MS Office support these days. But if enough CMS vendors start to support OpenOffice (and they have an interest in doing so because they compete with Microsoft on the CMS side), the office software market could get interesting again.