Genii Weblog

Why not Open DXL?

Mon 25 Sep 2006, 10:37 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
Spending all the time I do these days on Open Document Format and Office Open XML (OOXML, Microsoft's XML format), I am unsure why IBM doesn't jump on this bandwagon.  After all, they already have DXL as an intermediate format with classes to import, export and parse DXL for both data and design.

So why not a file format?  Like both Open Document Format And Open XML, IBM could package the files in ZIP format, could create a set of extensions such as DXT, DXF, DXV, DXD (text, form, view, database) and so on.  The basic content would be stored in one XML file, with the form either stored in a separate XML file in the same zip file, much as a stored form is stored, or simply referred to as it is now.

Why bother, you may ask?  Well, for one thing, it would offer an open format to allow others to both extract meta data and to allow more automated creation of data.  With just a few changes, it would be possible to store attachments and images as separate files, as in the other open formats, and that would greatly simplify extracting that sort of data.  A gradual adoption of more complex currently accepted standard, such as those in MathML or the Dublin Core, could facilitate use of Notes data in applications that use such standards, and would help rationalize meta data across data formats.

So, should we ask IBM to do this?  Of course, I guess we wouldn't have to wait.  If IBM didn't want to define such a standard, perhaps the community could.  The DXL part would remain IBM's, but the package format and such could be open.  That would be an odd marriage of proprietary and open, but odder things have happened.

Copyright 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

496.1. Alan Bell
(09/26/2006 03:01 PM)

well for such a file format to be open I would say it would need to be unenccumbered by patents and other legal issues, plus be ratified by a suitable independent standards body. Do you think there are patent issues with DXL?