Posted by Jose Miguel Parrella
Microsoft Interoperability Strategy

Today Doug Mahugh, Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft Open Technologies Inc., announced the release of an Open XML SDK as an open source project through the MS Open Tech hub. Although the SDK has been available since 2007, this release includes full source code available under the Apache 2.0 license on GitHub, as well as the project will continue to grow under the stewardship of the .NET Foundation.

This is a significant Open XML release that enables more developers to build applications that use the Open XML standard and also a milestone for a growing and developing Open XML ecosystem.

In addition to today’s announcement, the Open XML conceptual content for developers is available on GitHub, as well as an Open XML Package Editor for Visual Studio was open sourced recently.

These two new developments join the ranks of other open source projects related to Open XML, such:  

  • The Apache POI project [Apache 2.0, Last Release: Feb 2014], whose mission is to maintain Java APIs for manipulating various file formats based on Open XML;
  • Document format translators such as the UOF (Chinese national standard) to Open XML translator [BSD, Last Release: Jun 2014];
  • High-fidelity HTML conversion tools such as Power Tools for Open XML [MS-PL License, Last Release: Jan 2014].

We have partnered with the community in some of these projects, like the UOF Translator developed in the Beihang University in China, which now includes both Transitional Open XML and Strict Open XML support.

It’s also great to see the open ecosystem around Open XML grow organically. You can find an increasing number of projects, like HTML to Open XML, Open XML SDK for JavaScript, PHPExcel and more, by simply searching for Open XML on popular open source project hosting sites like SourceForge or Codeplex.

We believe that the ecosystem is not only about programmatic access to the open standard and the documentation and collective knowledge around it, but also about enabling vendors to develop commercial solutions, both proprietary and open source, which leverage the features of the Open XML standard. Today, products like KingSoft Office for Windows and Android, Mobisystems OfficeSuite 7 for Android (which leverages Apache POI, an open source project mentioned earlier), QuickOffice for iPad, DataViz Documents to Go for iOS and Android, WordPerfect X7, and Apple iWork, all offer Open XML compatibility.

Those non-Microsoft solutions, along with Microsoft cloud productivity offerings, like Office Web Apps, Office 365 and Office on mobile devices, are available today for customers who expect choice and want to complement the superior authoring experiences, improved productivity and great value they enjoy with Office on their desktops. We’re very excited about the growth of the Open XML ecosystem and remain committed to partnering with the community through projects like the open source Open XML SDK announced today.

For more on this Open XML milestone, please check out the following blogs and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

MS Open Tech releases Open XML SDK as open source project

Open XML SDK goes open source

The Open XML SDK is Now Open Source