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Microsoft’s Open Office XML for Australian Government Offices

Australia Finance Department, in its recently announced desktop policy, has asked all its agencies to choose Office Open XML as their standard document format. This move by the Australian Government has ensured Microsoft Office Suite will continue to be part of the Government policy documents.  This comes as a surprise for international community when majority of the governments are embracing open source desktop publishing suites to cut down on costs.

The Whole-of-Government Common Operating Environment has made it mandatory that an agency productivity suite  should have the capability to read and compile in Office Open XML which is the file format endorsed by the Government. The desktop policy document also states that the productivity suite should be compliant with the ECMA-376 version Office Open XML (OOXML) standard.

The Australian Government decision of favoring OOXML has not gone down well with international community. Many experts have questioned Australian Government decision as the ECMA-376 version Office Open XML (OOXML) standard was disapproved by the International Standard Organization (ISO).  The reason given for rejection was OOXML has many Windows-platform dependencies make it less compatible with other similar formats. The Open Document Format Alliance which is backed by Google and IBM has also warned governments globally against adoption of ECMA-376 standard. The ODF Alliance  in its document titled “ What Government needs to know” has specifically mentioned that user of ECMA-376 standard OOXML will eventually tie the user to using Microsoft Office Suite only.

The Alliance has also pointed out that  ECMA-376 standard OOXML had several Windows-platform dependencies an in order  to get the product approved for ISO-29500, Microsoft was asked to remove the Windows platform dependencies which the developer has not been able to do till date. Hence, in this scenario, the ECMA-376 standard OOXML stands rejected by ISO.

The directive from Australia’s Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) is surely going to limit agency choices as many of the rival productivity suites have the ability to import and read Microsoft’s OOXML format which is denoted by .docx extension for Word files, but only few have the ability to write in that format which prevents the agencies to use other office suites. This  government directive leaves agencies with no choice but to use Microsoft Office Suite.

The ODF alliance was surprised when the ODF format was not even mentioned in Australia’s Government Information Management Office policy. They have cited an international example where both the formats, ODF and OOXML were clearly mentioned in  2009 UK open document format policy the UK government giving room for both formats.  The biggest surprise for ODF Alliance was Australian Government did not even mention ODF standard in their The Whole-of-Government Common Operating Environment desktop policy. They have also mentioned that ODF was standard format selected by National Archives of Australia back in 2006.

AGIMO has clarified that it has selected OOXML to make the exchange of information easier between the agencies. Australian Government has clarified that their desktop policy is aimed at securing Government data and reducing possible leaks. The desktop policy makes it mandatory for Government offices to use Microsoft Office suite only.

How to Easily Build Your own Desktop Widget (Gadget) for Windows 7

Yes it is true. You can build your own gadgets for Windows Vista and can have them displayed in the Sidebar, all you need is a little knowledge of HTML and XML and that would be all.

In simple terms a gadget is a HTML or XML file is displayed in the sidebar and is intended to display you some information from your computer or from the internet. In this article we will let you know how to create your own gadget.

A gadget consists of a main XML file which has all the important information about the gadget and has link to the HTML file which works on it. The XML file contains information like the gadget name, author name, Website URL, Description, Icon Source information, Link to the HTML file etc. To have a look to any existing gadget’s XML file just rename the extension of the gadget to .zip and unzip its contents. You will then be able to see the XML files and the main HTML file. This can be used as the base for your Gadget.

The main HTML file is nothing, but a webpage not wider than 130 pixels. You can create this web page using any editor or by self coding the HTML. As we know that HTML provides a static web page and there is not much which you can do into it. but if you use JavaScript in your HTML file you can create smart and dynamic gadgets. Using JavaScript is done in the same old fashion by using the Script tag of HTML. Gadgets have a predefined width of 130 pixels when displayed in the sidebar but this can go upto 400 pixels if we drag the gadget out of the sidebar and put it on the desktop. Once the gadget is undocked from the Sidebar its size can be increased and this space can be used for displaying extra contents on it. The current state of gadget if docked or undocked can be queried by System.Gadget.docked property. If it returns false then gadget is undocked else it is docked and your code can thus run basis this value.

You would have noticed that almost all the gadgets come with an options box. We can set and save various settings provided in the options box. These settings are used or changed by the System.Gadget.Settings.write and .read properties. We can use Visual Studio for writing and debugging our JavaScript as it makes it really easy to understand. Once you are done with the creation and testing of your gadget you can create a distribution package for it so that you can send it to others. Creating a gadgets distribution file is very simple and can be done from Windows Explorer itself. put all the necessary files of your gadget in one single folder and zip it using WinZip or any other Zipping tool. If you do not have a zipping tool then you can compress the entire folder as a cabinet file (.cab) which is Windows compression type. Once you have the zip or cab file you just have to rename the extension to .gadget and that would create a single file which can be used or sent to others. Windows Vista will recognise the .gadget file as a gadget and will open it in the sidebar when selected.

Call Now: +1 833-522-1003
Call Now: +1 833-522-1003
Call Now: +1 833-522-1003