Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Kobayashi Moru vs. Seppuku

I wish that I was Captain Kirk. The only Star Fleet cadet to beat the no-win Kobayashi Moru Scenario might be able to come to grips with using Office 2007 within Blackboard Vista. The problem is that Vista does not currently recognize Office 2007 file formats.

Office 2007 applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint save their files with a new XML-based file format called Open Office XML Format. This new format features new and different file extensions (e.g., .docx, .xlsx, .pptx), which help to indicate their XML-based content.

The file format container, which is comprised primarily of XML files, is based upon the compressed ZIP file format specification. The following problems can arise for users:

  1. Downloading the file from Vista with the default ZIP extension makes the file unreadable by Office 2003

  2. The default ZIP association forces the client to treat the XML format package as a ZIP file

  3. The client Office application does not recognize the XML format package encoding

A wise person at this point would simply not use, or allow to be used, Office 2007. Of course, a wise person would not be teaching Office 2007 for Fairmont State University and trying to do it on Vista.

There are two practical solutions:

  1. Rename the Office 2007 file before (or preferably after) you upload it to Vista. For example, change the .docx filetype of a Word document to .doc.

  2. Upload the four-character Office 2007 extension, but teach everyone to override the default ZIP filetype when they download and SAVE AS…

  3. Don't use Office 2007

Of course, none of this brings into consideration as to what someone who uses Office 2003 will encounter if they are faced with the Kobayashi Moru of handling Office 2007 files on Vista. It would help a lot if they had the latest Microsoft Office Combatibility Pack (sic) for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats.

It would help even more if they didn't have to do it.

1 comment:

MountainLaurel said...

you know, the MS Combatabilty Pack explains a lot. As in why I want to hit something every time I use a Micro$oft product.