Iâm sure I was wearing headphones with the sound going directly into my ears while Paul Thurrott in some episode of Windows Weekly mentioned in passing that âMicrosoft complies with court, strips Word of custom XML.â It was a jury in Texas that decided that my digital life should be intimately disrupted as âMicrosoft has issued updates for Word 2007 and Word 2003 that strip those applications of a feature that infringes on the patent of a tiny Canadian software company, i4i.â And Iâm flippantly sure that Paul Thurrott said that this change will have an âinsignificantâ impact on whatever he continually says âwhateverâ aboutâŠ so, speaking of bad comedy, hereâs a picture from a previous post showing just how much Iâm into âcustom XMLâ:
One important finding of mine disagrees with the use of the word âstripâ in sentences like:
So what do you do if you have custom XML in your Word documents? If you donât use the custom XML, then thereâs no problem, just open the files and Word will strip it out, leaving you the rest of the document. Same if your use can be switched to using another feature. You will lose your existing markers but otherwise can continue.
Whatâs actually happening (according to my copy of Word 2010) is that word is not altering the contents of my documents simply because it contains âcustom XML.â This apparently âillegalâ content is not displayed in Word 2010. The XML defining the âcustom XMLâ is still stored in the document.
What this suggests (after many hours curled up on the floor sobbing, Why me!) is that the Open XML SDK can be used to reach those fragments of âcustom XMLââonce there one could:
- Brutally copy the contents of the document (with a VSTO add-in) and paste it back into Word. This might coerce the âcustom XMLâ tags to show again because (according to my copy of Word 2010) the commands and tools related to âcustom XMLâ work as expectedâyou simply canât display your work in a future editing session.
- Stop using âcustom XMLâ and use the Content Control instead. In âWhat is âCustom XML?â âŠ and the impact of the i4i judgment on Word,â this suggestion is made. The first subtle problem here is that Content Control visuals donât appear in draft modeâwhich is my favorite mode to work in Word.
- Assume that Microsoft will not let some judge in Texas and some company in Canada stop them from âinnovatingâ with Word. It may take them years but theyâll come out with some kind of âembrace and extendâ trick.
In the summer of 2009, Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft appealed the decision. Since Iâm writing this very, very late to the party, clearly the appeal failed. In fact, in the winter of 2009 we find Tim Bray saying:
I see that Microsoft lost an appeal in the âCustom XMLâ litigation, and may be forced to disable that functionality in Microsoft Office. This is a short backgrounder explaining what âCustom XMLâ is about, and why nobody should care.
Hey, letâs drive this issue into the ground (deeper) with StĂ©phane Rodriguez (in 2008):
Itâs interesting that Microsoft bloggers donât even seem to be [embarrassed] by ridiculous expressions such as âCustom XMLâ. Custom XML is indeed just as silly as âOffice Open XMLâ : the reason is X in XML already means Custom.