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Microsoft Issues Version 1.0 Protocol Documentation

Microsoft updated documentation on protocols used in some of its core applications today. The update is part of the company's general "interoperability principles" effort, announced in February, which is designed to make it easier for developers to write applications that can work with Microsoft's products.

The new materials are "Version 1.0" document protocols used for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, SharePoint Server 2007 and Office 2007. Version 1.0 builds on the company's preliminary April release of protocol documentation by including initial input from the development community.

The documentation includes additional resources for development efforts relating to "e-mail, calendar, contacts, voice mail and task tracking with either Exchange Server 2007 or Microsoft Office Outlook 2007," according to an announcement issued by the company.

In addition, Microsoft added to existing documentation of its binary file formats used in Microsoft Office, posting "nearly 5,000 pages" relating to Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint.

The added technical documentation describing Microsoft's protocols boosts the overall total to "approximately 50,000 pages," according to Craig Shank, general manager of interoperability, in a released statement.

Developers can find descriptions of the protocols and documentation at the Microsoft Developer Network Library.

Microsoft initiated a "document interoperability initiative" back in March and has launched some new projects, based on the feedback it received.

One such project is the development of Uniform Office Format translators for Microsoft Office 2007 and 2003, in which Microsoft is working with Beihang University in Beijing. The company is also working on a way for software vendors developing browser-based applications to launch documents using Microsoft's Office Open XML format. That effort is focusing on creating a new Open XML to HTML translator.

Finally, Microsoft is involved in an effort to perform server-side processing of Office Open XML files using its PowerShell command-line tool.

Microsoft, while opening up some of its protocol documentation of late, still retains its patents on those technologies. The company licenses its technologies to other software vendors producing commercial products that interoperate with Microsoft's applications. A list of Microsoft's patented protocol technologies can be accessed here.

Microsoft has announced that it will not charge for use of its published protocol technologies, even for open source developers, providing that the application is noncommercial.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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