While many despise WMA, DOC, MP3 and other proprietary formats the discussions about data formats used by web applications have been surprisingly silent. It is true that this is mainly because a lot of web applications offer XML export or offer an API for exporting data to other services. But as data formats in the cloud become more complex and by sheer number of data formats now generated by applications in the cloud, standardizing data formats becomes just as important as it is on the desktop.
I recently went to hear Richard Stallman speak about copyright issues and Håkon Wium Lie, the creator of CSS and CTO at Opera Software, had an interesting statement in his question to Stallman: “I believe that the need for open source in software is of lesser importance. What really matters is the data people produce and that we have proper standards to ensure portability between services and platforms.”
Desktop applications support import/export to various data formats. My browser of choice, Safari, can import bookmarks from other browsers. iWork accepts to a certain degree the proprietary formats produced by Microsoft Office. Any accounting software will be able to import data from a market leader like Quicken or MYOB. We are also beginning to see a similar set of functions in web applications and in many cases this is powered by direct API integration between two services.
Continues @ http://www.cloudave.com