swa66 - 4:56 pm on Feb 2, 2013 (gmt 0)
Wheel: try making sometng in MS office (word specifically), that uses all out the features of word, not a basic thing, but a complex document, background images, illustratations, linked spreadsheets, including title pages, indexes, glossary, pages in A3 in an A4 sized document, rotated pages, complex headers and footers, automated numbering, ... Really the works.
Now send it to _any_ wannabe alternative, and edit it using track changes: add pages, change the title, move text around, add illustrations, change the footers, modify the numbering (if you see any), really work on the document. Change something in the linked spreadsheet if you can manage it.
You'll already see a lot of things falling apart - since you know what the original had - but let's assume you don't know it cause you never saw the original.
Now save it and open it back in MS office ... The body might still be there, the rest - not so much. And try to continue editing it, it'll break even more.
The whole reason is of course MSFT's proprietary approach to it all, with only one real goal: to create lock-in. It's something Redmond is *very* good at unfortunately. Even if they play a charade on ISO standards, their document spec still is not true open and there's still not an open source reference implementation all others can use to make 100% compatible products.
FWIW: to make a file that opens in excel from scratch is dead easy: UTF-16 encode a html file with tables in it. Excel eats it up like hungry wolf eats a baby rabbit. But well substantially editing a document made by excel and preserving the undocumented crap that excel left in there so that it still works in excel afterwards: that's a whole different story. The wolf then bites you.