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   Re: XML in Office 200X

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  • From: Thierry Bezecourt <thbz@thbz.cx>
  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Tue, 01 Aug 2000 15:15:25 +0200

At 13:32 31/07/2000 -0500, Imran Rashid wrote:
>    What I really want is OfficeML, and some clear documentation on all the
>elements it uses, how it corresponds to things in Office, etc.  that way, i
>can take my own document, that I've written in waggaziggy application, save
>it as waggaziggyML, apply an XSLT stylesheet, and get OfficeML, which I
>anybody can open in Office 200X.  no other special tricks, just use standard
>XML stuff.  that way, I can tell anybody that doesn't have waggaziggy
>installed on their machine that they can still open my document in Office
>200X.  or if they prefer they're own application, they can take my OfficeML,
>apply their OfficeMLtoOogaML XSLT stylesheet, and then open it in their own
>application.  all standard XML techniques.

A rtf2xml converter may be what you are looking for: 
http://www.sesha.com/omlette/rtf2xml. However:

1/ I agree with the first step: use XSLT to transform a waggaziggyML 
document into an OfficeML document.  I already do something similar by 
applying an XSLT stylesheet to an XML source to generate an RTF 
documentation.  A well-documented, "standard" OfficeML would be useful here.

2/ But I have my doubts as to the second step (conversion from OfficeML to 
another ML), because OfficeML would be very large.  The DTD would probably 
contain hundreds of element declarations.  To write a *generic* XSLT 
stylesheet to convert OfficeML to OogaML, you would need to write a 
template for each formatting feature in Word.  And the feature would have 
to be supported in some way by the target software (Ooga in your 
example).  The target software would have to support so many things that it 
would be more simple for it to support OfficeML directly. This is what most 
word processors do already by supporting RTF.

Or maybe the target software does not really want to display the entire 
Word document, but only to extract and display some specific data in your 
document.  But how will you extract useful data from an OfficeML 
document?  The problem here is that Word (and thus OfficeML) does not 
separate data from presentation.  The OfficeML step will probably remove 
most markup information your original waggaziggyML document.  Of course, 
you could create "islands" in your document to store additional information :)

For these reasons, while an XML input would be interesting, I don't see how 
an XML output in Office could be really useful except for very specific 
tasks (which could probably be done in a better way by applying an XSLT 
stylesheet directly to the original waggaziggyML document).  This is very 
theoretical, so please correct me if I'm wrong.  I would be interested in 
real-world use cases.

Thierry Bézecourt


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