Microsoft has announced a new tie-up with the Beihang University (Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics) and several others to develop an open source translator project between China’s Unified Office Format (UOF) and the Ecma Open XML File Formats. Apart from that the software company also launched the beta version of translation tools for Windows(R) XP, and the 2003 and 2007 versions of Microsoft(R) Office Excel(R) and Microsoft Office PowerPoint(R) as part of the Open XML Translator project introduced in July 2006.
The UOF translation tools will be developed and licensed as open source software, and will be finally be made available as free, downloadable add-ins for Microsoft Office Word 2003 and 2007 users from SourceForge.net. Most probably the tools will be available for use with other individual and commercial projects to speed up document interoperability across the industry and help
Microsoft Office customers in China who need to work with the UOF standard.
Jean Paoli, general manager of Interoperability and XML Architecture at Microsoft said, “Our customers have told us their data needs can’t be addressed by a one- format or one-standard-fits-all approach.” Paoli added, “Everyone wants to use their data in slightly different ways. That’s why we are enabling customers to pick from whatever format they want to use with their Office documents — whether it’s ODF, Open XML, PDF, or new standards like UOF.”
The UOF-specific translator is ideally suited to meet the requirements of the government and private sector clients based in China, who are keen to use the ap-and-coming, which is being conceptualized by the Chinese Office Software Group (COSGW), led by the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), major suppliers of Chinese office software suites, and academic institutions such as the Beijing Information Technology Institute. Independent Chinese software vendors and academic institutions such as the Beihang University, Beijing Information Technology Institute (one of the co-creators of the UOF Chinese standard), Tsinghua University and LitSoft (a member of Lenovo Group) will be the esteemed groups that will develop and test the translator tools.
Since Microsoft first put forward its support for its open source Open XML Translator project to provide interoperability between the Open XML and ODF formats, it has been successful in retaining its position among the 25 most active projects on SourceForge.net. It’s important to add here that the Microsoft Office Word tool delivered in early 2007 has already been downloaded over 100,000 times.
Summer 2007 will see a preview of the UOF translator tools which will be launched on SourceForge, with final versions expected early next year.