The focus on interoperability was identified as one of the ten trends for 2007 by CORE, and this just-released report from BECTA in the UK. highlights again why this is so important. The main focus of concern is ensuring the widest compatibility of files between different applications. The report draws attention to limitations in Microsoft’s implementation of the Open Document Format (ODF) international standard, and recommends that users of Office 2007 should not save in Microsoft’s new Office format (OOXML). They suggest that users should in the short term continue to save files in the more widely adopted .doc, .xls and .ppt formats.
Until the issue is resolved, BECTA is recommending UK-based schools do not upgrade existing ICT systems to Microsoft Vista or Office 2007, and mixed Windows-based operating environments should be avoided. However, Vista should be considered where new institution-wide ICT provision is being planned.
This is a bold step by BECTA – one I’m sure will create ripples throughout the education system. More evidence, however, of how seriously the issue of interoperability is being taken and needs to be taken as we make decisions about systems and software we choose install at home, at work and in our schools.
The Microsoft Office and Vista full report is available to download here.