For millions of PC users, Windows Vista's ubiquitous support
of Adobe PDF settles most issues regarding availability of
content. However, in a shot across the bow toward Adobe and its
huge lead in electronic document publishing, Microsoft Vista has
introduced XML Paper Specification (XPS), a new technology for
electronic documents based on XML. This “new standard for
document freedom” (in Microsoft's words) draws upon a mix of
standards, pseudo-standards and new technology, including
elements of the Autodesk DWF electronic document format.
Using DWF in XPS gives Microsoft more than a CAD-based
viewing format. DWF is designed to hold design metadata, not
just geometry. By tying together bits of DWF with its own
SharePoint data management technology, Microsoft has shipped
rudimentary product data management (PDM) capabilities in Vista.
The use of DWF technology inside Windows Vista was first
demonstrated to the public at Autodesk University last November,
the night before Windows Vista began shipping to corporate
XPS is “a copycat”
Meanwhile Adobe will await Microsoft Vista’s final retail
release in a few weeks to test Acrobat 8.0 compatibility. “PDF
is serving customers well, and we would have preferred to have a
dialog and have Microsoft’s participation in extending the value
of PDF to the broad community, but instead they’ve chosen to do
a 'copycat' product,” said Pam Deziel, director of platform
production and marketing for Adobe.
What Deziel calls a “copycat format” is Microsoft XPS, a
document storage and viewing specification that describes the
formats and rules for distributing, archiving, and rendering
electronic documents. The markup language for XPS is a subset of
Windows Presentation Foundation, XAML, (based on XML) which
specifies how Windows applications will render documents.
What it all means
For now, the ability to view DWF in Windows Vista is limited
to 2D. But the move is significant. This puts 2D DWF and
scalable, measurable, technically accurate vector graphics on
par with JPG or TIFF or the other graphics file formats
supported by Windows. It is an obvious coup for Autodesk. This
move was hinted at in late 2005 when Autodesk and Microsoft
announced a broadening of their existing strategic alliance.
full article is available for a fee at