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I have been making some progress on Word to XML conversion, essential to the WP Interop project. This was originally supposed to take place after I released a sample template for OpenOffice.org Writer, but Rick Jelliffe’s observation about Word in XML projects following from the Open Publish conference in Sydney got me thinking that I should publish on this matter. Rick says:

If I were to pick a theme or meme, it was that the decision on whether and how to support Word was the by far the most critical decision for most large XML deployments.

He goes on to talk about how some users are entrenched in Word. But I think can empower them to transcend its limitations, and maybe help them to move to ‘better’ tools. The problem is, the better tools are not really here yet, as noted by Tim Bray and discussed here before.

So, the first substantial release from my WP Interop project will be a Python script, with commentary about how it works, for generating well-formed XML from Microsoft’s deservedly much maligned ‘Save as Web Page …’ format. Stay tuned for details about how I used libxml2 to do most of the heavy lifting.

Once we have a Word template using the WP Interop styles and an XHTML stylesheet to turn documents into real XHTML, I should even be able to use it to write for this site, when James Tauber releases Leonardo 0.4 with its new architecture.


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