macnews.net.tc
2006-02-09
Apple is an evilly closed up company. ;)
But I'm not sure whether the winking smiley face actually should be in the title of this post. My problem today is this: I've put the folder containing all the stories I've written in the past two years on a memory stick. And only when I was at a colleague's house, where I wanted to print one of them, I noticed that on a PC, I've got no chance of opening my Pages documents. Yes, the ".pages" documents are actually folders containing a gzipped XML-document which I can open after decoding it, but I'll end up with a very weird document, all formatting lost etc.
There doesn't seem to be a converter for .pages documents. Not on Mac OS X, not on Windows or linux. So do I really have to convert them to RTF before something bad happens (like I lose my PowerBook and have to work with a Windows notebook for a while or something...)? Why doesn't Apple provide a free way to look at .pages documents without having to buy a Mac and iWork?
Or in other words: Could somebody please create .pages support in OpenOffice.org?
Comments:
I havent really studied the exact format of the .pages "file" format. I know it's not a regular file, but more like a bundle that contains the XML-file and possibly other stuff (ie images and so that are embedded in the .pages document).

XML files can be transformed into a variety of formats by means of XSLT. I'ts simplest described as a script that transforms the XML code inte HTML, RTF or some other format. I don't have a very deep knowledge in XSLT, so I don't know if it's able to handle images and others stuff that is not part of the XML code. I guess images and so are referenced from the XML code, in a similar way as it is in HTML.

I know that you can transform the XML code inte rtf, pdf, html and many more formats, but I'm not sure that it's able to make the referenced images part of the created pdf document, or whatever is created.

Transformation to HTML should be pretty straightforward though, since HTML also just has references to the images. No need to copy the images into a created document.
 
Hi,

transform your text based documents to LaTeX and you will have cross plattform compatibility for now and also in a few hundret years.
 
michael: Pages doesn't open the LaTeX files, though, and I want to continue to work in Pages. So... That's not a solution to my problem, although I see that it is one for others.

danne: Hm. If this actually works, it's worth a try. But looking at Pages' XML code, I don't think so, really... But my real point is (although it might not be so obvious), that Apple has created a document format without the option of the user moving away from Pages. They could've adopted the Open Document format, but they didn't. They could've used .doc, too, but didn't. They used a new one and locked "us" in. Microsoft has been criticized for this a lot in the past. But Apple, it seems, just gets away with it.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
fryke: Even Microsoft will be moving their Office suite to XML-based formats. Just because XML is an open standard, and there's the ability to transform the XML-files into whatever, makes it a very good format. Since I don't have Pages I really can't test it, nor have a look at the XML-format they're using.

However, Pages can open files in some other formats. One of them being WordML, which is the XML-based format used by MS Word.
Read more about it here: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Pages/2.0/en/slng111.html

Pages can also save documents in Word format, which you can read about here: http://www.apple.com/iwork/pages/features/compatibility.html
 
There is a developer document, which describes the XML format used in pages/keynotes:

http://developer.apple.com/documentation/AppleApplications/Pages-date.html

It looks like the pages XML format is rather open, not closed :-)

cheers
kusmi
 
Okay. Good. :) Now all we need is a cross-platform converter which lets one have RTF documents made from Pages documents.

See: I care about practical things here. The format can be as open as it wants, doesn't really matter to end-users as long as there aren't any converters.

I *KNOW* that I can create RTF, .doc and PDF from within Pages to share my work with others, but the sad thing is that for .doc and RTF documents you get from other people, Pages can't natively _work_ with the formats. It can open them, but can't automatically save back to them, i.e. you'll always have to "export" again. I'd like it far more if Pages would transparently just work with them.

But that's the other side. My real concern is still that if I have a backup of Pages documents, I today can't really do anything with them as long as I don't have Pages available. A case which _can_ happen in reality. (For example when you're working on a document with a colleague somewhere and the battery runs out. You have the Pages document on a flash memory stick but it's worth nothing if you put that in the colleague's Windows notebook, for example.)
 
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