Is it too late to say Happy New Year?

Man, it's already the second week of 2009. Where does the time go?

Here are a few links to posts and articles I've come across over the end of the holiday season and the start of the new year ...

Package Explorer learns a new vocabulary. Wouter Van Vugt finally got some time off over the holidays, and spent it writing code. He's like that. The result is a new version of Package Explorer. The biggest new feature in this version is the "packaging vocabulary" concept: an XML-based representation of the semantics of parts and relationships in an Open XML document. Package Explorer uses this information to enable a new "Vocabulary view" in the Document Inspector, and will eventually use it to allow for on-the-fly creation of new parts from within the Package Explorer UI. Wouter has finished the hard work of creating the WordprocessingML vocabulary, and now needs to do the same for SpreadsheetML, PresentationML, and DrawingML. If you're interested in contributing to this effort, contact Wouter to volunteer.

Eric on Open XML. Eric White has been blogging about a variety of topics related to LINQ, Open XML, and SharePoint. Two recent posts of particular interest for Open XML developers cover working with in-memory documents and how to use the SharePoint object model to modify Open XML documents.

OPC photo album. If you missed Julien Chable's blog post on how OPC can do more than office documents, it's worth a look. He uses System.IO.Packaging to read and write a custom OPC-based format, and displays the slide show using WPF. Full source code provided.

Packaging formats. It seems the world is moving toward XML in ZIP packages for more than just photo albums. Rick Jelliffe has a thought-provoking post on the variety of ZIP-based packaging formats currently in use.

The Math Paragraph. One thing I never realized before I started working with document formats was how much complexity and subtlety there is in the serialization and rendering of equations. Murray Sargent is our resident expert in such matters, and he recently posted an interesting overview of the math paragraph concept is implemented in Office 2007.

Brian Jones's ghostwriters. Brian Jones's blog continues to serve up great Open XML content, even when he's too busy planning future versions of Word to write a blog post. (Note to self: how does he do that?) Anyway, there are two great new posts on his blog to start the new year: Zeyad Rajabi's post on bound content controls, and Ali Taleghani's Open XML SDK basics.

String values from spreadsheets. Open XML allows for inline strings as well as string stored in the shared strings table. This can be handy for developers; for example, you can add a row to a spreadsheet and just write the string values inline, without bothering to updated the shared string table. It also means you need to write code that will gracefully handle either approach, and PSC's Andrew Schwantes has a handy post on how to retrieve a string value regardless of which way it's stored.

She's back! Erika Ehrli returned from maternity leave last week, so keep an eye on her blog for lots of great Office developer content going forward.