COLLADA is an intermediate content exchange file format. A royalty-free XML schema defines an open standard for 3D content enabling a broad field of applications. The openness and free availability of this format is not only crucial for tool/engine developers to make their content pipeline accessible for a huge number of DCC tools, but it also teaches a lot about 3D assets and their technologies behind as every piece of information is human-readable and well explained in the specification. This provides a great learning experience for students and developers diving into 3D.
In 2006 I had my first experience with COLLADA enabling an OpenSceneGraph based content pipeline to use this format. The CgToGLSL effects conditioner has been created for this project and released as open source. Some of this work has been continued by AMD and released as the COLLADA OpenGL Effects Viewer. My continuing interest in effects being used in COLLADA resulted in FxCleaner, an optimizer for effects definitions and a follow-up to CgToGLSL. Eventually I contributed some work to the Collada Dom and ported the Collada Refinery to OS X. One year later I was creating an experimental lightweight COLLADA viewer engine, namely XRayCollada which I recently decided to release with its accompanying Mac plugins for Quicklook and Spotlight.