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Office Rocker! : Ecma Open XML real world stories

I don't know how many of you read the Office Rocker blog from Darren Strange (http://blogs.msdn.com/officerocker), but I did like this entry given all the recent discussions about Open XML. At the end of the day the discussion is not who's standard it is (ISO, ECMA etc) although there does appear to be a pecking order, but more about what people can do once it is in use.  Darren has highlighted some people who are actually using Open XML to extend their business.

Ecma Open XML real world stories

This afternoon I was presenting at the Office Business Applications architects council with the good looking chaps on the right here.  I was talking about some of the stories I've come across from our customers and partners who are using Ecma Open XML in their solutions.

I have 4 stories published recently about Ecma Open XML that illustrate what I think are 3 significant categories:

1. Integrated add-in

 Fractal:Edge have a great visual concept for representing the drill down on data using what they call a 'Fractal Map'.  The map is an add-in for Excel 2007 effectively but to store the settings for the map - like the data connection details, involves writing this to the file.  This is very easy to do in Open XML and means you don't need to lug around a separate config file to travel around with the spreadsheet.  They have a really good demo on their website.  Being able to use Excel to store the fractalmap made their add-in highly portable which increased its adoption. <snipped>

2. Document interrogation

Working out the history of a document, merging changes and  looking for compliance violations is an area Workshare have an impressive depth of experience.  Previously working with the binary format to do this was very hard not to mention fraught with danger of corrupting the file.  Since Open XML, they've been able to create new versions of their products far faster, with greater precision and because poking about in the file is now supported, a much more secure and stable product. <snipped>

3. Document assembly

Workflow should only involve your people when there is some special judgement or discernment required.  Otherwise it should get out of the way.  Workflow solutions are made more powerful when the server can create the documents without user involvement.  The Ecma Open XML standard makes this possible in ways never before seen.  Money Partners are a mortgage lender who have been able to use this to create the hundreds of documents per minute required in the mortgage application and approval process.  That's impressive throughput but the huge saving has been how easy it is to update the templates when the FSA issue a change to the rules governing mortgage lending.


Here are the links to the full case studies:



Office Rocker! : Ecma Open XML real world stories




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Posted Fri, Oct 26 2007 5:26 AM by David Overton

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