I'd like to use a more standardized model format that's a commonly-exported format across many 3D software production packages (Blender, Maya, 3DS Max, etc), and it seems that there are two: COLLADA and FBX. The problem is, it seems that there are multiple versions for these formats out there, and the exporters for each modeling package that supports these formats will provide the data in slightly different ways. Some even with missing features. It appears that the modeling package being used, the version of that package, the version of the supported exporter provided, and the file version are all variables that need to be considered. This is from what I've gathered so far, anyway.
I understand that these formats are meant to be generic formats to hold all kinds of data that the engine can interpret, and use in an optimized way, but due to this, it seems like these formats change on a regular basis. I mean, it seems that there's really no standard exporter for COLLADA let alone a solid, multi-platform importer (it sounds like ASSIMP has done a good job, though). FBX seems to change every 6 months, which requires a new SDK with radically different APIs. ASSIMP seems really nice since it can grab models from a variety of different formats, and provides a common interface for working with the data once loaded. The problem with ASSIMP is that it doesn't handle FBX as well as I thought it would (since the specs change frequently, I'm guessing). From what I've seen, FBX is used quite a bit.
Has anyone had any experiences related to handling COLLADA or FBX? If I could, I'd prefer to work with just FBX.