I’ve waited a few days to blog on this particular issue so there would be time for those in the know to test how the new ODF format in Office 2007 SP2 works. Initial reports were that things were ( just ) ok but since then, it’s all gone downhill. One of the gurus in this area, Rob Weir, has done a lot of testing over the last few months with a wide variety of office applications. In his latest round of test, Office 2007 SP2’s support for spreadsheets is the worst by a large margin. Excel apparently strips out formulas when reading in an ODF spreadsheet!!! What?!?!?! To top this, when writing out spreadsheets in ODF format, Excel keeps the formulas but puts them into an Excel name space – different to what OpenOffice, other ODF apps and the spec itself says.
What is interesting here is that the Microsoft-sponsored CleverAge plugin for Office works quite well; in fact this plugin has upped the ante by fixing a lot of issues in their earlier code. Question: why can CleverAge with Microsoft support get it right when MS themselves can’t?
A few possiblities:
1. this is a first try for MS in Office ( however they have a lot of resources to lean on so this doesn’t quite ring true )
2. ODF 1.1 does not define spreadsheet formulas ( sure but conformance and interoperability are not mutually exclusive )
3. MS is trying to deliberately do a poor implementation of ODF to infer the ODF is poor