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@Cool_Daddy For me, I like being able to actually read the data file. The xxxX formated files are XML files. So, If you know XML or HTML, you can just search the file for something you're looking for. This is especially helpful if you're passing a xxxX file to another program. You can just deconstruct the file as input data. Try doing that with an earlier xxx file. Just my 2 cents.

I read through this comment that's essentially in favor of the use of Microsoft's "Office Open XML" file formats and came away with an unexpected take-home.  First, why should we care how hard it is to open a .doc file in a text editor at this point?  We have plenty of excellent, freeware applications that can do that job for us (AbiWord, though seemingly dead, is still one of my favorites).  There's no real practical advantage for having a .doc file in a human readable file format now, is there, minus outliers like, "I just installed my OS and have no internet access and MUST edit the contents of my file in the 'pack-in' text editor!"

But then I shift from the consumer's pov to Microsoft's.  If the long game says that proprietary file formats will be broken and provide no (again, long-term) advantage, why bother with them at all?  Why not just use XML for your file format?  The format's so complex at this point, the degree of obfuscation in XML versions of the files is still tremendous.  You're past the point of something simply reproduced -- heck, even MS's Mac Business Unit had a heck of a time pulling it off, and that was an inside job!  It's the difference between html made by Seamonkey Composer and html made by Word's "Save As HTML".  HTML is supposed to be a nice, human-editable format.  Yet one product is pretty easy to edit by hand, and the other nearly impossible.  (See also AbiWord's Save As HTML for docs; beautiful stuff.)

So why move from bytecode to XML if you're Microsoft?  XML might be a better tool for serializing docs, and puts contracts with governments that demand "free and open" (and therefore, ostensibly, forward compatible and archival) formats back on the table and kill the "open" movement flat.

And there's really no difference to the end user now either, minus those guys who post to CNET and claim to be opening/editing their docs in Notepad.  ;^)

Microsoft moving to XML seems better, but, in the end, holds the status quo.  (C#'s release as an open standard, however, had much different, more beneficial results.  Wonder if that was expected?)

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