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From David Fisher <dfis...@jmlafferty.com>
Subject Re: Issues with Open XML in Office 2008 for Mac SP2
Date Thu, 30 Jul 2009 18:19:07 GMT
Hi -

Given that Microsoft plans to fix this bug in August which is before  
the planned date for 3.5-FINAL, we should reconsider our quick "MS- 
Compatible" as default decision. See intermixed comments below.

On Jul 30, 2009, at 6:57 AM, Yegor Kozlov wrote:

> I've dropped a line on compatibility with MS Office 2008 on http://poi.apache.org/spreadsheet/index.html
> This clearly describes the fix and how to remove it.
> P.S. the .html will be available in a hour or two, after the next  
> rsync cycle.

I don't see it yet. Perhaps more will need to be explained. See below:

On Jul 29, 2009, at 11:37 AM, Blair Neumann wrote:

> Hello Dave Fisher and other POI contributors.
> Pat McMillan forwarded email from Dave Fisher describing the Apache  
> POI project’s concerns about an issue in Office 2008 for Mac SP2,  
> concerns that we share. This email is a response to Dave Fisher's  
> earlier correspondence.
> We are aware of a serious bug in Office 2008 for Mac SP2 version  
> 12.2.0 causing some Open XML files to fail to open in Office 2008  
> SP2. This bug is affecting Open XML files from a variety of sources  
> including Office for Windows, Office for Mac, and the Apache POI  
> project. We understand the problem and are working to release a  
> version 12.2.1 of Office 2008 that addresses this issue in August.

This is before we plan to release POI-3.5-FINAL. I believe the target  
date for 3.5-FINAL is before October 1. Am I correct? I think someone  
should start a thread to make sure that we cover everything and can  
all work towards that schedule.

> A few points from Dave Fisher's mail should be addressed.
>>> the Apache POI project has adjusted code to produce "MS-compatible  
>>> OOXML by adding docProps/app.xml with "Microsoft Excel". We've  
>>> done similar for DOCX files. This will allow users of future  
>>> versions of Apache POI to produce OOXML documents that will work  
>>> with Office 2008 for Mac SP2.
> This is not the best long-term solution, though we understand that  
> it may be an effective short-term response to a bug in Office 2008  
> for Mac version 12.2.0. This isn't about producing "MS-compatible"  
> Open XML but is rather a workaround for a short-term bug. Rather  
> than asserting that Apache POI files are written by Microsoft, we  
> hope that your long-term guidance will be to recommend that affected  
> Office 2008 for Mac users use version 12.2.1 or later (or version  
> 12.1.9 or earlier) with files written by Apache POI.

Given that the issue will not be long term I agree that we should back  
off our quick solution. New workbooks should not create docProps/ 
apps.xml that pretend to be from "Microsoft Excel" or "Microsoft  
Office Word". Does anyone disagree?

As suggested we should advise that users avoid Office 2008 for Mac SP2  
version 12.2.0 and wait for 12.2.1. If they must use 12.2.0 then we  
advise them how to apply the fix, and suggest that they remove such  
markings as possible.

Our guidance for removing the fix will depend on whether we decide to  
always mark new XSSF workbooks as coming from "Apache POI"

>>> In our understanding of the standard docProps/app.xml is optional.
> Our understanding also. An extended properties part (such as  
> app.xml, which happens to be what we call it) is indeed optional as  
> stated in ECMA-376, Part 4, Section 7.2, "If all extended property  
> elements are omitted then the extended properties part may be  
> excluded from a document."
>>> If this [the Application tag] were required by the standard then  
>>> we think this would mean that the proper value for Apache POI  
>>> created documents would to be "Apache POI" and not "Microsoft Excel"
> Our understanding also. Related to my discussion above, we believe  
> that an Application value "Apache POI" is appropriate.

As a project we should decide if -

(a) It is safe to make the Application setting "Apache POI". A test  
would be to successfully open an XSSF file with consumers other than  
Excel 12.2.0. This includes OpenOffice 3.0.

(b) If it is safe then I propose that we set the Application to  
"Apache POI" and the AppVersion to the poi version - eg. "3.5- 

This is worth a discussion. Please respond if you have an opinion.

>>> we expect that Microsoft will return to compliance with ISO  
>>> standard 29500 as promised.
> To be clear, Office 2008 for Mac conforms to ECMA-376 and does not  
> yet conform to ISO/IEC 29500. The current situation is a bug in our  
> ECMA-376 implementation and will be remedied as soon as possible.

You are correct. Sorry about the misunderstanding. I do wonder about  
Microsoft's plans for ISO/IEC 29500 compliance.


> Warm regards.
> -Blair.
> Blair Neumann
> Program Manager, Macintosh Business Unit
> blair.neumann@microsoft.com
> ________________________________

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