Monthly Archives: August 2012

Microsoft Office Open Source Standards

Microsoft Office to be given open source standards

Here’s some great news for Microsoft users: the next version of Office has been altered to include open source technologies. The company have opened up Microsoft Office 2013 to fully support the Open Document Format, for PDFs and variants of Open XML. According to Jim Thatcher, principle program manager lead for Office standards, the next version of Office “will support strict Open XML and Transitional Open XML, ISO 32000 (PDF) and OASIS ODF 1.2.” This move could have been due, in part, to the fact that both LibreOffice and OpenOffice have both been backed by ODF for a while, which may have put pressure on those in charge of Microsoft Office.

The movement towards open ODF has not been a fast process. It has been simmering along for around six or seven years, so the fact that it has now come to fruition is an exciting development.

Electronic paper archives have increasingly come into focus over the years and now it is very useful to be able to have access to them. As well as this, Thatcher has talked about Microsoft’s plans to make it so that PDF’s can be edited as though they are Office documents. This is being called the ‘PDF reflow’ and would mean a drastic change in the way people work with PDF documents and the features that they boast. Thatcher has made it clear that this is not designed as a replacement to Adobe Reader or Acrobat, however it will no doubt prove to be very useful.

Office 2013 is expected to be formally launched in early 2013, however a fixed date has not yet been set.

.NET Applications on Linux

Well, what a touchy subject this might be to some people.  I have always seen the battle go back and forth between Windows, Macintosh and Linux.  Windows being a middle-tier price range which excellent performance, Macintosh being the high end simply from marketing and Linux being the low end cost point which the most potential.  The problem I have always seen is that Microsoft holds the middle share which is always the most used share.   I have been a Microsoft developer for my entire career and I love it to death, but the power behind a Linux machine is starting to become hard to ignore.  Recently I ran into a project that was faced with spending 100 hours developing a communication platform for a piece of software or somehow getting .NET hooked into a Linux server.

Of course we went both routes as with any project whichever option is the best is the choice, but something has to work.  I came across this plugin for Apache and Linux called Mono.  Mono is a plugin/server application that lets you run ASP.NET applications on your Linux server native.  You do not have to get pushed to another server or lose your performance, you simply install the package and configure it in Apache and you are up and running.  To start, here is the mono website for you to check out and hopefully spread out through all of your Linux servers: http://www.mono-project.com/Main_Page

Hopefully you all install it and configure it so when I come through I can install my applications on your server and be just fine and dandy, if you don’t I will no doubt make you do it :)  There is a set of install instructions for each server type including Mac servers as well as CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, etc.  Mostly it seems to just be a package installation through w-get or whatever your package flavor is.  After configuration you can use this site to configure virtual directories: http://go-mono.com/config-mod-mono/Default.aspx

The nice thing about this configuration generator is that you can create a separate config file for each virtual directory and include them in your base httpd config file under each virtual host settings section.  It is almost exactly like creating virtual applications in IIS and the performance is for the most part the same.  From what I have seen this far, .NET 4.0 is supported as well as AJAX, and I am hoping to see some more stuff go into the project to make it a viable option for hosting .NET applications.  Cheers!