From Microsoft Announces Availability of Open and Royalty-Free License For Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas

Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of a royalty-free licensing program for its Microsoft® Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas and accompanying documentation. ... Microsoft's new Office 2003 versions of Word, Excel and the InfoPath (TM) information-gathering program utilize schemas that describe how information is stored when documents are saved as XML....

To ensure broad availability and access, Microsoft is offering the royalty-free license using XML Schema Definitions (XSDs), the cross-industry standard developed by the W3C. The license provides access to the schemas and full documentation to interested parties and is designed for ease of use and adoption. The Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas include WordprocessingML (Microsoft Office Word 2003), SpreadsheetML (Microsoft Office Excel 2003) and FormTemplate XML schemas (Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003).

The biggest gripe when Office 2003's XML support was announced was that the schemas for WordprocessingML (aka WordML) and co. were proprietary. This was reported in a number of fora including Slashdot & C|Net news. I wonder how many will carry the announcements that these schemas are available for all to peruse and reuse in a royalty free manner?

Update: On C|Net news: Microsoft pries open Office 2003

Update2: On Slashdot: Microsoft Word Document ML Schemas Published


Tuesday, November 18, 2003 12:36:42 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
1. Do you believe a patent of an XML schema will stand up against legal scrutiny?

2. Why did they add the "no modifications or extensions" clause to the license?
Tuesday, November 18, 2003 2:00:35 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
1. I'm not a lawyer so that question is definitely out of my depth.

2. Don't know, I'm not on the Office team. If you're significantly interested in the answer to that question to that question I can track down the Office XML PMs and ask them.
Thursday, November 20, 2003 1:59:07 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Great to see these schemata available. I realize it isn't your problem, but office.xsd imports C:\SCHEMAS\vml.xsd which isn't in the package. Any idea how we can obtain vml.xsd?

Dan Everhart
Tuesday, November 25, 2003 6:09:32 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)

Again, I realise you're not on the team but I'm not sure who is! Do the specs tell you how to open and read embedded objects in the documents? My biggest concern with all this is that while the documents themselves may be in a documented format, embedded material from other parts of Office may not be. For example, will I be able to process an embedded spreadsheet fragment in a WordML document? Will it be in plaintext SpreadsheetML or will it be a binary? As Office becomes more an assembly framework this will become increasingly important.


Simon (getting ready to blog it when I know enough...)
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