Genii Weblog

An interesting question about ODF and Notes rich text

Thu 25 May 2006, 12:15 AM

by Ben Langhinrichs
A long time correspondent wrote asking me about Open Document Format (ODF) and the announcement that IBM will include an embedded ODF compatible OpenOffice editor instance inside Lotus Notes once Hannover comes along.  See this article for details.  This friend wrote:
I always think of you as the Rich Text expert - especially within Lotus Domino.
Will Notes / ODF have any effect on Notes Rich Text ?
An interesting question.  From what I can tell, the answer is "No!", because it seems very likely that IBM is simply going to extend their current ability to use MS Word as an editor in order to utilize the OpenOffice applications as editors.  This will not alter the use of rich text at all, but it does envisage a much stronger role for OpenOffice and ODF format.  One question that will likely arise is, how do you convert back and forth between ODF and rich text, if ODF is an important format?  At least, that is the question that intrigues me.

Copyright 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

459.1. Nathan T. Freeman
(05/25/2006 01:47 AM)

Funny, I'd thought about asking you the same thing.

ODF/DXL is a transform. But I don't know if you want to get into that business. Certainly would make an awesome OpenNTF project, though.

I pulled the ODF spec when IBM announced the initiative just to contemplate what it would take. Definitely involved, but doable, I think.

459.2. Ben Langhinrichs
(05/25/2006 07:23 AM)

Not sure I agree. I mean, after all, HTML/DXL is a transform too, but a have a huge number of customers, including IBM, using our rich text to HTML and HTML to rich text conversions. Why, because transforming DXL to HTML isn't that much easier than transforming CD records to HTML. Both require a lot of time and patience and insight. I'm guessing that going from DXL to ODF isn't going to be much easier, for many of the same reasons.

I could be wrong, of course.

459.3. Stephan H. Wissel
(05/25/2006 10:19 AM)

Do I smell cODFedit?

;-) stw

459.4. John Head
(05/25/2006 11:08 AM)

Everything I can figure is that the producitvity editors will just save ODF compliant files for the first release. Where those files are stored is a bit murky right now. That should be more clear as we go thru the year.

459.5. John Head
(05/25/2006 12:09 PM)

Ben - actually its different. The current word integration is

1) alternate editor in mail

2) office document library

3) attach files

4) embed objects

5) com

I think the productivity editors will be more like 3 or 4 than anything else. Where the files go to (straight to a rich text field, to the file system, a document library like workplace documents, etc) is the unknown. I have high hopes for 5. I have no hopes for being able to export an entire notes document as ODF.

459.6. Ben Langhinrichs
(05/25/2006 12:15 PM)

John - I'm surprised by this. Doesn't the news coming out of DNUG suggest 1 at the very least? The article I point to says:

The first beta, due out this fall, will include an ODF-compatible version of OpenOffice embedded in the Notes e-mail application.
Of course, they could be wrong, but doesn't that sound like an alternate editor? Maybe it doesn't. I can't say I use the Word integration much at all, and I know this is more your area of expertise.

In any case, I would hold out hope for being "able to export an entire notes document as ODF", if not from IBM than from somebody else (such as us).

459.7. Gregory Engels
(05/27/2006 04:01 AM)

I was there at DNUG presentation - and all what was shown was a kinda plugin, that runs in his own tab in the hannover client (eclipse). As such it is "just" anouther application embeded in the very same gui, not realy aware of where it is running. So for the first, and for what was showed, i would simply assume that it would be

a) load and edit files from the disk or network

b) save the files to local disk or network.

that's all.

In a future release Kevin said they gonna add functionality like programmibility (in the first release there will be only macros).

I think the future will bring exiting integration, but that is not for hannover. my 2 cents