I've just read the post on Steve's blog about the whole Open XML debate and the issue about choice. I have always been a firm believer that having choice in our industry drives innovation in companies and keeps them honest and open to there customers/users. I look back at how things have changed with most technology solutions now having public APIs to enable integration and extensibility. Now in the Internet Era and the world embracing XML we see open standards for document formats that will enable the next wave of innovation.
Having worked in organizations before Microsoft that had to produce high volumes of data driven documentation the move to Open XML is something that is really going to make a difference. Life before Open XML often meant having solutions that had banks of PCs running automated Word applications almost acting as document creation servers. I'll be honest this had two problems 1) It was never supported and 2) It was not very good and very slow.
Now you can create this same type of solution using Open XML to produce high volumes of data driven documents in record time.
Oh I forgot to mention. As this is an 'Open' standard you are not restricted to developing using Microsoft tools or running it on Microsoft platforms. (Clearly this is another choice and I would hope you would be considering Microsoft in that decision). Take a look at http://openxmldeveloper.org/posts.aspx for articles on using Java, Linux and Microsoft tools.
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