Ben Langhinrichs

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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Fri 27 Oct 2006, 08:29 AM
Dictionary definition of deprecate

Computer definition of deprecate

I was reading through the Office Open XML draft yesterday, and came across a whole host of scary elements.  These are all from Part 4 of the draft specs, entitled Markup Language Reference, and, yes, those are the real page numbers.  It is not a short documemt, and this may partly explain why.  For example:
  • autoSpaceLikeWord95 (Emulate Word 95 Full Width Character Spacing) - pages 1378-1379
  • footnoteLayoutLikeWW8 (Emulate Word 6.x/95/97 Footnote Placement) - pages 1416-1417
  • lineWrapLikeWord6 (Emulate Word 6.0 Line Wrapping for East Asian Text) - pages 1426-1427
  • mwSmallCaps (Emulate Word 5.x for Macintosh Small Caps Formatting) - pages 1427-1429
  • shapeLayoutLikeWW8 (Emulate Word 97 Text Wrapping Around Floating Objects) - pages 1442-1443
  • suppressTopSpacingWP (Emulate WordPerfect 5.x Line Spacing) - pages 1462-1464
  • truncateFontHeightsLikeWP6 (Emulate WordPerfect 6.x Font Height Calculation) - pages 1467-1468
  • useWord2002TableStyleRules (Emulate Word 2002 Table Style Rules) - pages 1481-1482
  • useWord97LineBreakRules (Emulate Word 97 East Asian Line Breaking) - pages 1482-1483
  • wpJustification (Emulate WordPerfect 6.x Paragraph Justification) - pages 1483-1485


There are many more which relate to various parameters which are deprecated, but virtually all of these examples share a guidance paragraph which says:

Guidance wording for deprecated elements

Now, on the one hand, Microsoft is to be praised for its careful presevation of attributes, features and behaviors which exist not only in its own earlier versions but also in those of competitive products.  Good show!  On the other hand, these do not belong in an open standard!  This is a very clear case of vendor specific implementation leaking through into what Microsoft claims to be an open standard.  What should have been done is that the ability to extend the standard should have been well defined (one of the primary purposes of an XML standard, after all), and these should have been kept as a separate vendor specific implementation namespace.  Then, other products could have their own vendor specific implementation namespaces which repoduced what their customers needed.  In the meantime, the general standard would not be weighed own with numerous obsolete, deprecated elements before it is even formalized.

Pray for deliverance.

Copyright 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

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