News from the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference:
Officially unveiled as part of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates’ kick-off keynote, the new Microsoft document workflow format, code-named ‘Metro,’ sounds from initial explanations like a page-description language meant to compete with Adobe’s PostScript.
All of this is still smoke and mirrors, but a few interesting tidbits do emerge from the presentation:
- The Metro page description language is XML-based.
- Metro is supposed to provide files for a print spooler (similar to PCL or PostScript) and an application-independent page-description language (similar to PDF)
- Metro’s license will be royalty-free to “encourage adoption.”
- Metro Specification and FAQ
When Adobe introduced PostScript about 20 years ago, desktop publishing was just getting started. The idea of being able to print production-ready documents from the desktop was revolutionary. Today, we expect perfect print fidelity as a matter of course. The window of opportunity for introducing, field-testing, and debugging a page description language may have closed.
So, what does Microsoft do? They introduce Metro as part of their operating system. In Longhorn, the print spooling service will use Metro files.
I don’t know whether to be appalled or impressed. Does the expression, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” ring a bell for anyone in Redmond?