Gareth and Chris's action item from Paris describing the proposed subdivision of work relating to ISO 8601 issues

Rex Jaeschke rex at
Fri Dec 18 12:34:19 CET 2009

Action: Gareth and Chris to determine whether we should have an SC 34
document describing the proposed subdivision of work relating to ISO 8601
issues as they pertain to Parts 1 and 4. If they decide to have such a
document, it is to be delivered to WG4 by the telcon on 2009-12-18.

WG 4 recommends that SC 34 approve the following further project

1) JTC 1.34.29500.01.03 -

Title: ISO/IEC 29500-1, Office Open XML File Formats, Part 1, Fundamentals
and Markup Language Reference - Amendment ???

2) JTC 1.34.29500.04.03 -

Title: ISO/IEC 29500-4, Office Open XML File Formats, Part 4, Transitional
Migration Features - Amendment ???

Scope of both project subdivisions: Improvements to the specification of the
lexical space and value space of ISO 8601 dates and times in ISO/IEC
29500:2008, specifically in Parts 1 and 4


Defect Reports have been submitted on this issue that are considered to be
too important to be resolved by preparation of Technical Corrigenda.

An important BRM decision was to adopt Resolution 7, which introduced ISO
8601 dates into the specification. However, the implementation of this
decision was incomplete, in that the final part of this decision was
overlooked: "... all changes as well as choices among alternatives rendered
necessary by the Decision ... shall be made". Without making the necessary
choices among the different types, alternative lexical spaces and associated
value spaces defined by ISO 8601, support for ISO 8601 cannot be
implemented. The text needs to specify which of the many date and time
entities covered by ISO 8601 are applicable, and what lexical conventions
are allowed in each case. Some of the alternatives in ISO 8601 are not

Also added at the BRM was the statement that "A serial value represents a
UTC date and time". This does not reflect the expectations of users and
prevents interoperability with OpenFormula, which prescribes local time.
This statement should be modified to indicate that serial values represent
local times.

SpreadsheetML includes many formula operations and functions that only make
sense if dates and times are treated as numbers. In Part 1 in particular
this contradicts the requirement that all dates and times be represented
using ISO 8601.
The text needs to be revised to ensure that these formulas and functions are
implementable as specified.

Timetable: PDAM 2010-06, FPDAM 2010-12, FDAM 2011-05

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