Supersonic Man

September 19, 2011

document formats

Filed under: Hobbyism and Nerdry — Supersonic Man @ 7:10 pm

Man, I wish there was a real open document format that was standardized, supported, and accepted.  As it is we’ve got .doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf, and .pdf, and every one of them is either too narrow and proprietary, too unpopular, or too slippery and variable in implementation.

Not having a real version of MS Word here (but having access to the online MS Live version), I’ve been discovering just how un-standard the .doc and .docx formats really are.  No two pieces of software seem to be able to load each other’s content without mangling it!  Some apps even fuck up when reading back their own output.  The end result is that there is no One Truth as to how a given .doc(x) file is supposed to appear on the page — it comes down to an argument between which piece of software has a bigger circle of believers.  And this applies even between different versions of the same app, not just between competing suites.

The .pdf format, which I have long regarded with distaste and mild loathing, may actually be the least bad of the bunch.  At least with that, you get an inarguable visual layout.  Too bad a lot of people still want resumes in Word format.  When I give them one of those, I never know what they’re going to see when they read it.

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