April 27, 2005 1:57 PM PDT

Microsoft XML guru sees power for the people

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of new documents will be created in XML. Today, XML-formatted documents make up only a fraction of all electronic information.

XML provides a standardized way to format a document, obviating the need for application-specific formats. XML also allows people to define schema, or the information contained within a document, such as a name and address.

Refurbished Office
In the last release of its productivity suite, Office System 2003, Microsoft added the ability to store documents in XML format and to let people define their own schemas. Back-end server software such as database and packaged applications can also "read" XML documents.

With Office System 2003, Microsoft created closer links between desktop applications and server software such as its SharePoint portal ware. It also introduced an Office add-on, called InfoPath, for processing forms in company networks.

Paoli indicated that customers can expect closer ties between server and Office desktop Microsoft products. Databases--such as the forthcoming Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and those from IBM and Oracle--will be able to save data in XML format, he said.

Specifically, Paoli said he sees a growing need for tools to analyze XML data. For example, database tools could "read" the information stored in a credit approval application generated in Microsoft Word and automatically decide to move the document to the next step or reject it.

He added that Microsoft is also working on ways to ensure the security and privacy of XML-stored data. In addition, Longhorn will have a communication system called Indigo that is based completely on XML-based protocols.

"There is a lot of potential for new tools," Paoli said. "When I say tools, I mean for end users, not necessarily developers."

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Import and Export of Spreadsheet Data Stored in XML!
It may be of considerable interest for users of competitive "Spreadsheet" and other Productivity Applications (OpenOffice, StarOffice...)to experience a seamless integration (exportation and importation) of Spreadsheet and other Data written in XML and previously stored in MS Apps (in Excel for instance) and vice versa!

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