TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2008
Last week, Microsoft published the binary file formats for Office. These formats appear to be almost completely insane. The Excel 97-2003 file format is a 349-page PDF file. But wait, that's not all there is to it! This document includes the following interesting comment:
Each Excel workbook is stored in a compound file.
You see, Excel 97-2003 files are OLE compound documents, which are, essentially, file systems inside a single file. These are sufficiently complicated that you have to read another nine-page spec to figure that out. And these "specs" look more like C data structures than what we traditionally think of as a spec. ...