Last week i attended the DII workshop in Redmond with John Head and David Munaretto. We had a great opportunity to present our case study for server-side Powerpoint document generation as well as participate in discussions across many topics. Doug Mahugh has posted some great details about the entire DII workshop.
Topics covered ranged from document validator tools, document test library, document taxonomy, and OOXML development. This was my first time at a DII event and it was great to meet so many members of the Office product groups as well as other developers and "standards wonks" (credit for that description to Alex Brown). Interoperability dominates most the discussions, because in the end it's the users that matter most, not us developers. In this regard Microsoft is taking a nice step in attempting to approach the community not only with their successes, but also their weaknesses. Shawn Villaron was able share some examples of how they plan to document their format implementations to the public, creating an openess that will be much appreciated going forward.
The highlight of the workshop for me was John and I presenting PSC's case study of server-side document generation (Click to view slides). I was very pleased with the all feedback we received from both the Microsoft groups as well as the other developers. It's exciting to be on the tip of an emerging technology, something that isn't always easy. Both the Powerpoint and OOXML teams listened to our frustrations and made it clear that they are there to help.
My biggest gripe doing PPTX has been the lack of documentation and content that exists out on the web. Now that I have some scenarios that work i plan to try and fill that gap and help the community get on track using OOXML. I will be trying out some new functionality within the 2.0 SDK and will be posting my results. Some topics I plan to post about are content-substitution versus content-generation and where a good mix is between the two, conditional formatting within Powerpoint table data (not Excel sheets) as well as dealing with the finer aspects of Powerpoint including themes and smart art.