I've been trying out the XPS reader in Vista lately to see how much I like/don't like the new document format. The format itself seems to be just fine, I really have no problem with it. But the reader in Vista just sucks; it leaves a lot to be desired. Here's why:

  1. There does not seem to be a standalone reader application; documents always open inside IE, which I rarely use.
  2. Loading the reader takes a lot of time, and it's quite slow after it is running. This is particularly noticeable if you're used to looking at PDFs with the goodness that is FoxIt's PDF Reader (to which all document viewers should compare to, as far as I'm concerned).
  3. Because it's meant to work with IE, the damn thing doesn't work if your default browser is not IE. In my case, I use Firefox 2.0 as my default browser, so when I click on an XPS file in Windows Explorer, the document tries to open in Firefox, which can't display it, and triggers a sequence of uterly useless events. Not pretty.

I'm hoping someone creates a decent XPS document viewer, otherwise, it doesn't really stand much of a chance.

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Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia.