On walkabout in life and technology

Why Microsoft Word Must Die

Charles Stross, yes, that Charles Stross writes in Why Microsoft Word must Die:

The .doc file format was also obfuscated, deliberately or intentionally: rather than a parseable document containing formatting and macro metadata, it was effectively a dump of the in-memory data structures used by word, with pointers to the subroutines that provided formatting or macro support.

He focuses on the usability issues, the compatibility issues, the inconstancies and the forced need to upgrade just to read other people’s documents - and the idiocy of using this incomprehensible, short lived format in publishing.

And that’s the key, the file format is a disaster. If you use Word, these days you cannot open Word files you created more than 10 years ago! I tried! Then again, those files may just be corrupted from years of copying from device to device as I upgraded and changed systems. But that’s the point, a parseable format would still enable me to get some content back!

Like Charles, I use Scrivener for the big stuff and plain old Markdown files for everything else. Like Charles, I’m not worried about being able to read my documents 5 years or 50 years into the future anymore. And like Charles, if someone wants a file in Word format, I’ll deliver a copy and keep the original in a manageable format.

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